High accountability is required when we speak God’s Word to another. We must be cautious to make sure we are not taking the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7). Which means when we speak in His name, when He has not spoken, beware then will discipline follow. This is a discipline that comes to remove from our hearts any pollution of heart or spirit.
Hebrews 12:6-11 says, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
The discipline of God trains our hearts to a place of producing peaceful fruit. We must be cautious to not counsel or disciple from a heart of unrest or high emotion, but from a place of rest in Him. If we counsel or teach with passion may it be God’s passion and not our fleshly passion. We see that the roots of Hebrews 12 is character development that comes through discipline not punishment. There is nothing wrong with us but it is training us.
No matter how gifted we are we can’t get where we are going from here. Where are we going? God is working deep character change within us. It is a shaping of character that is brought about by the cross. This is the foundation on which wisdom is built.
Our unhealed brokenness can be a character deficiency waiting to be transformed. Our flesh, as always, is a hard barrier to break through. In Philippians 3:10-11 it says, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This is the suffering that trains us in righteousness. It is a death to our self-centeredness that enables us to sacrifice for others.
There will be no resurrection until there is a death, 1 Peter 4:1-2, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” It is an intention to suffer to prepare for the personal desires, the needs, the fears, the vulnerabilities, and strongholds to be crushed and swallowed up in Jesus. None of us who the Lord calls to serve can avoid this refining process.
The glory set to bless us will kill us. If our foundation is not set our ministries to others will fail. Just look at king Saul he did a great job of ruining his posterity.
There is a pattern to our growth and development of character. First there is the calling, where God gifts us and wants us to know what we can do. This is to give us remembrance when life gets hard. We can see early success in our ministries and then when the hardships start our calling holds us through the season of pain. This wilderness of pain is for building our character. We see this pattern in the life of Joseph, David, and Paul. Through the wilderness character is shaped and refined, but only if we persevere.
In the wilderness meditating on the Word is going to be crucial to enter into the Lord’s rest, (Hebrews 4:1-13). God commanded Joshua in Joshua 1:8 to meditate on the Word day and night so that he would be careful to do it, always trusting the Lord would give him success. It is knowing the concepts and precepts of the Word until they take root. It is literally repeating and repeating until the Spirit works it in to captivate and form our character.
Have you seen the hard things in life as character building challenges? Have you pondered on the truth of God’s word until it resonates and captivates your character? May you take Joshua’s challenge to meditate day and night fully assured God will give a good result. “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night being careful to do all that is written in it for then you shall make your way prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).