Being Still = Seeking God's Guidance and Discipline
This week in our “Being Still =” series we’re talking about seeking God’s guidance and discipline. In Lamentations 3:25-27 it says, “The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of His discipline” (NLT)
Here we see that being still and quieting ourselves before God can mean seeking
His guidance and discipline in our lives. It involves humility and the desire to learn
from Him. It involves our surrender to allow Him to teach us and to change us.
The other day I was reading Psalm 139:23-24 which says “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (NLT). I was struck by how willing the psalmist was for God to point out anything in his heart that was offensive, and to turn him in the right direction instead.
I asked myself: “Can I bring myself to ask that question?” There’s something in me that prevents me from doing so. Something in me that would rather not know how offensive my thoughts and actions are. Something in me that doesn’t want to know where I’ve gone wrong.
And then God helped me see what that something was: The fear of condemnation.
Years ago—before I really delved into the depths of the Gospel and allowed God to use it to reprogram my mind—I felt like I couldn’t handle knowing when I had done something wrong. I couldn’t handle the thought of God pointing out something in me that was wrong and that needed to change. Eventually God showed me it was because I had not fully grasped the beauty of the Gospel to the degree that I needed to.
1 John 4:18 tells us, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love” (NLT).
Growth is vital to my Christian walk. And if I can’t bring myself to look at the parts of me that need to grow because I’m terrified of condemnation, then that tells me I either haven’t experienced the depths of God’s perfect love to the degree that I need to, or perhaps I’ve simply forgotten and allowed the Gospel to become stale in my heart.
In Hebrews 12:5-6 it says, “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son’” (NIV).
Because of Jesus Christ and the Gospel God no longer punishes us as a judge punishes a guilty criminal. Instead He disciplines us as a loving Father disciplines His child. Because of the Gospel and the relationship with God that it gives us we can ask God to point out our sins and mistakes without the fear of condemnation.
We can come to Him in humble eagerness and ask Him to point out the wrong paths we’ve taken and bring us back to the path He wants us to be on. Because of the Gospel, we can be still in His presence and seek His discipline and guidance without being afraid of what He might say.
Sometimes I feel like I’m able to do this. But sometimes I don’t. Whenever I struggle God keeps leading me back to the Gospel. He invites me to delve into it and grasp it in a fresh new way. He urges me to remember who He is, and who I am to Him. He reminds me of the identity I have now because of Christ. He invites me into the safety of His presence bought by the blood of Jesus, and there I find the courage to accept the things I need to change in order to grow and mature in my walk with Him.