Daily Devotion for January 13, 2017

'A Tough Job'

2 Corinthians 6:11-13, 7:2-4 NLT
Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!

Please open your hearts to us. We have not done wrong to anyone, nor led anyone astray, nor taken advantage of anyone. I’m not saying this to condemn you. I said before that you are in our hearts, and we live or die together with you. I have the highest confidence in you, and I take great pride in you. You have greatly encouraged me and made me.

You know, as a parent, sometimes I really don't like my job. Specifically, I really don't like having to correct or discipline my kids—but it's essential. Without me correcting and disciplining, 1) my kids would grow up thinking “sin” was okay, 2) they would end up failing to thrive in the adult world (a world governed by rules, and unwritten “right” and “wrong” ways to behave), 3) they would fail to see their desperate need for the Savior, and 4) they would end up living for their own pleasure instead of seeking God and His right ways. So, because I love them, I speak “honestly” with them and correct them, disciplining them the best I can...

But some of my kids don't like me after I've corrected them—just like some of Paul's “kids” (the Church of Corinth) didn't seem to like him after his 1 Corinthians letter of correction. Specifically, some in the Corinthian church were refusing to “open (their) hearts” to Paul after He reprimanded them—just as some of my own children try to do this to me. When this “shut out” happened, Paul lovingly reminded his adult “kids” that he had “spoken honestly” and corrected them 1) BECAUSE he loved them, 2) BECAUSE they were “in (his) heart,” 3) BECAUSE he was for them, 4) BECAUSE he wanted them to thrive for the Lord, 5) BECAUSE he “lived and died together” with them, 6) BECAUSE he had the “highest confidence” in them, 7) BECAUSE they had “greatly encouraged (him) and made (him)” more like Christ...

You know, parenting a church has many similarities to raising kids for Jesus...but it would be FAR more challenging to love/teach/correct messy, still-sinning, hard-hearted, child-like adults...

Hmm...

Lord Jesus, today we thank You for ALL the Pastoral “parents” you have provided us sin-filled, rebellious kids! We also ask Your protection for them, Your wisdom for them, Your Words for them, Your guidance for them, Your strength and integrity so they can lead, and that Your love surround and guide them. In addition, we ask You to fill them with love for their congregation—so much love that they continue to do the hard work You have assigned them: that of lovingly teaching, rebuking, training, correcting, growing Your “children”...

And as for us adult “children,” Lord...don't let us rebelliously close our hearts to those You have assigned to lead us! We ask this in Your name...

AMEN!!!
And Another HUGE AMEN, Lord!!

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