Monday, November 5, 2001
When our son entered high school, he carried with him the study habits that had served him well in junior high school. They didn't serve him well in high school. He learned a whole lot about studying his freshman year. Now his grades weren't awful - they were just, you know, below his potential. So the last part of the year, we resorted to, uh, martial law. We enforced three hours of study nightly and we allowed no calls - no going out until his homework was done. Now, turn the page to his second year in high school. I'd go into my study at night and I'd find him with these books and notebooks all spread out across my desk. Sometimes I'd tell him there was a phone call for him. And he'd answer, "Tell them I'll call them back later, Dad. I'm not getting on the phone this year until my homework is done." Interesting. I didn't have to discipline my son. He was disciplining himself.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Avoid Being Grounded".
Our word for today from the Word of God begins with 1 Corinthians 11:30. These believers have been living outside of God's instructions and have actually been suffering physical consequences for it. Paul says, "That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep." God is disciplining His children. But there is a way to avoid His discipline.
Verse 31: "But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world." Now God offers two choices: "judge ourselves" or "judged by the Lord." This is not a hard choice.
This counsel from God sounds a lot like a lesson learned by a certain high school student we had at our house. If you acknowledge the problem and fix it yourself, there's no need for the pain of your Father's discipline.
Right now you may be missing God's best somewhere in your life. There's a relationship you shouldn't be in or a relationship that you've allowed bitterness and resentment to creep into. Maybe you're living a schedule that is neglecting your time with God, or your family priorities, or the rest that God intends us to have. Maybe you're playing around morally, or you're allowing dishonesty to creep into your business practices or your schoolwork. I don't know where you may be out of bounds, but I do know that God will not let you get away with it. He loves you too much to let you keep going on a road that will bring you greater pain and greater judgment.
So your Heavenly Father has been trying to get your attention. That's what all that's been about. And you sense His conviction but you're running from it, trying to drown it out, trying to rationalize it away. Well, what you've gotten from God until now is just minor tremors - to warn you of a major quake coming - if you don't take corrective action yourself.
Are you going to wait until God grounds you until He has to drop the bomb on you? Why not listen today to the whisper of His Holy Spirit, who Jesus said was sent to convict us of sin, unrighteousness, and judgment. Do not quench the Holy Spirit of God. Don't force God to discipline you. Discipline yourself! If you have to stop doing what you're doing right now, if you have to pull over to the side of the road, do that to get it right with God. Repent of that sin and open yourself up to a whole makeover of that part of your life from God Himself.
It's smart to choose to change before God forces you to change. When it comes to judging personal sin, by far the best approach is do it yourself!