When I am faithful to Him, my love for Jesus protects me from harsh punishment
Where do you think you would be today without the discipline of your parents when you were young? Sure, being grounded or hit with a belt was not pleasant, but did these things make you rebellious or more disciplined in your own life? How many times have you heard some people say that, if it hadn't been for the discipline of their parents, they might have turned out either dead or in jail? You see, discipline is not a bad thing (no matter what teenagers say) because we all know that we really want discipline in our lives to give us structure.
That's why we have laws that keep us from harm. They are there to protect us from injury or wrongdoing. Have you ever asked yourself where our laws really come from? Do you think they originated from man? No way! We are a very much undisciplined people. If we really had our way, we would allow ourselves to do anything we wanted, without the guilt and condemnation of our actions. But is that a good thing? How many people would be left on the earth if we killed everyone we were mad at, to get them out of our lives? None at all whatsoever. Again, without discipline, we would all be miserable. If we could fulfill all of our dreams all at once what would there be to live for? What kind of future would our kids have to look forward to if everything was handed to them instantaneously?
That's why we have laws and rules. Every good and moral law we have on the books comes from God. If you read the Bible you would be surprised just how many laws we get from its pages: Laws that God gave us to follow. If this world would turn back to God, and the laws He created to protect us, we would all be joyful, free from discipline and guilt. God gave us these laws to show us how much He loves us. Parents show their children how much they love them by disciplining them when needed.
Now, what if I am a believer in Christ? God says that we are to obey Him and the laws He has written on our hearts and in His Word, the Holy Bible. When we don't obey Him, we are to expect the consequences of our actions. Sometimes God disciplines us Himself, or He will let other people do it. If you talk meanly to your wife, you can expect to make your own dinner that night. All kidding aside, if I murder someone, then I expect to get the death penalty. If I don't, then something in the justice system has gone wrong.
How do you think God feels when His children disobey Him? It causes Him pain and heartbreak, the same as it does to parents who are disobeyed by their children. God always, always, always has our good in His heart. He doesn't want anything evil to happen to us, but we live in an evil world where evil happens quite frequently. It would take me a lot of pages to explain to you why God just doesn't do away with evil right now. The really short version is that He would have to do away with just about everybody living on this earth right now, excluding those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.
Which brings us to today's message:
Psalm 31:23-24 says, "Love the LORD, all you faithful ones! For the LORD protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes all who are arrogant (proud -- NIV). So be strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the LORD (NLT)!
We as believers have a lot to be thankful for. Not only did Jesus save us from our sins and give us eternal life, He also showed us how to love others. But loving others can only come from Jesus loving us first. As we say "Love conquers all", but may I add that it only happens with the love and power of Jesus Christ's Spirit living within us.
Before we come to know Christ, we humans only think we know what love is. When we say we love someone, we sometimes say it no stronger than if we say we love our car, house, or TV show. We like to say "love means never having to say you're sorry." Try telling that to your spouse the next time you do something wrong toward her. Even God wants us to say we are sorry to Him when we sin, so He can forgive us. But, as believers, we learn from Jesus how to love others, including Him.
As the above verse says, we are to love the Lord for all the things He has done for us. We are to be faithful to Him because He is faithful to us in giving us the kind of life He said He would give us when we accepted His death and resurrection.
Being loyal to Christ means to follow Him only and no one else. No other one should we worship other than Jesus. He should be our all in all. His being faithful to us brings us protection from evil. Satan can tempt us, but, as believers, he has a harder time getting us to give in to the temptation because we have the power of God within us through His Holy Spirit. Still, as believers, we can give in to the temptation only when we try not to give in on our own strength. One misconception the world has about Christians is that we should never sin and should always do the right thing in every situation. True, we, as Christians, should never sin since we have Jesus, but God gave us free wills to ultimately choose what we want to do. Our bodies and our minds are still in a fallen state. When Jesus saved us, He saved us from God's wrath and from Hell, and brought about the forgiveness we needed from God. It won't be until He comes back that we, as believers, will be changed into an immortal state of being and our ability to sin will truly end. That is why verse 24 tells us to be strong and to have the courage that the hope we have in Jesus will be fulfilled in due time.
Give your life to Christ, let Him set you free, then love Him with all of your heart.
"Scripture Marked (NIV) taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION . Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved."
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Copyright 2013 by Robert W. Bruno
Bobby Bruno was saved 14 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since.
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