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Squatters in God’s Kingdom

Squatters in God’s Kingdom

Over the next couple of weeks or so I’ll be on vacation. While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost some of my most read articles that I feel are important. Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already. If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

What’s your purpose for being a part of God’s kingdom? Are you fulfilling that purpose? Jesus gives some parables to explain God’s priorities.

Today I’ll be looking at the Parable of the Vineyard as recorded in Mark chapter 12, verses 1 through 12. You may want to read it in Scripture before continuing with this post.

In this parable, Jesus tells of a man who owned a vineyard and rented it out to some farmers. According to the terms of the lease, the owner was to get a share of the harvest as payment. This was a normal agreement for property owners in those days.

It’s interesting to see that the owner did all the work to set up the vineyard. All the farmers needed to do was move in and start harvesting.

How does this relate to the kingdom of God? Simply put, the Lord is looking for fruit. It’s not about our church attendance, Bible reading, or even our tithing. He’s looking for the fruit of our relationship with the Holy Spirit that He placed within us.

During His ministry with the disciples, Jesus made this abundantly clear to them.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

What we have to understand is that this is not our kingdom, but God’s. Everything we have is owned by someone else. Even our very lives belong to the Lord.

Because of this, God is well within His rights to demand anything He wants from us. We know right from the outset that He’s looking for the fruit of the Spirit.

Please understand that the fruit of our relationship with Christ is for the benefit and refreshing of those around us. The fruit of the Spirit are not merely for my personal gain.

The tenants in the parable didn’t understand this. They wanted to keep everything for themselves.

We live in a society where we’ve been taught that in most places – restaurants, stores, etc. – it’s all about what I want or need. Somehow we’ve transferred this mindset into our spiritual life. When it comes to being a part of a local church; I base it on what I can get from it.

What services do you offer me and my family? Do I like the type of music and the length of the worship service? Do I enjoy the way the Pastor delivers his sermons?

Wait a minute!!! Why does God have me in His kingdom? Is it purely for my comfort and enjoyment? No! I serve at the Lord’s good pleasure.

The tenants in this parable made a great mistake. They figured that if they could get rid of the owner’s son, then they could take over the vineyard. After all, squatters have rights.

Too often, I’ve seen this attitude in God’s people. The Bible refers to it as godlessness. Yes, there are many godless Christians.

To be godless simply means that God and His will don’t figure into any of your decisions. You’re living as if there’s no God. These are the squatters in God’s kingdom. They’re living on God’s property as if it belongs to them.

If you’ve been guilty of this attitude, then it’s time to repent. Get back to the purpose you were saved for. We need to be producing the fruit of the kingdom.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:8

Question: What are the fruits of the spirit that you have produced most recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2021 in Anointing, Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Yackity Yak, Don’t Talk Back

Yackity Yak, Don’t Talk Back

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. In talking about Israel’s place in the plan of God, Paul is explaining about God’s foreknowledge.

It’s a hard concept for us to grasp. The Lord sits outside of time and can view all of eternity at once. Our view is limited to where we are right now.

Because of this, some people get the idea that God makes everything happen. They say that He planned out everyone’s actions and reactions. I don’t believe this. Just because you know what everyone will do, doesn’t mean that you’re making them do it.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Romans 9:19-21

If God already knows what will happen, then why does He blame us when we turn out that way? Paul asks us; who can stand against and oppose His resolve?

What do you think you’re doing when you talk back to God? He’s the Creator, the great Potter. We’re the ones being formed. How can we say to the Potter, “Why are you making me into this type of pot? I don’t want to be this.”

Some of the pottery is for noble purposes, like vases and ornamental pieces. Others are for common uses, like wash basins and bed pans.

Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s really up to the clay to decide what purpose it’s used for.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

It takes the right kind of clay to make a delicate vessel. Hard, unyielding clay can only make a common pot. The fact is that God determines the use, based on what He knows of the clay. The pliability of the person determines how God shapes him.

In my last post, I talked about Moses and Pharaoh. God shaped Pharaoh to display His glory, based upon the desire of Pharaoh’s heart. A resistant heart can never become what a soft, yielding heart can be.

Remember, Paul is still talking about Israel in this passage. He said that not all of Israel is Israel. Not all of Israel yields to His will.

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath — prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

Romans 9:22-24

God desires to display who He is. Even in His wrath, He is passionate. The Lord shows forth His power and glory in all that He does.

He could, by His foreknowledge, immediately send everyone to hell that He knows will reject Him. He could also immediately translate to Heaven, everyone who accepts Christ. But, that wouldn’t show who He is.

In the Lord’s grace, He shows His patience, even to those who will someday enter His wrath. He does this so that He could show the wealth of His glory to the objects of His mercy, those who yielded to His molding. In Christ, we’re being prepared for His glory.

Question: How is God’s patience a blessing to you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

In my last post, I started talking about Israel as God’s chosen people. In looking at Paul’s writings, he said that it was only the children of promise that were Abraham’s true children. Paul continues…

For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac.

Romans 9:9-10

Isaac was the son born of a promise. But, the same was true when Isaac went on to have children of his own. Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, had twins. They were born at the same time, in the same bloodline, into the same family.

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad — in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls — she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:11-13

Now there’s a mouthful. What does that phrase, God’s purpose in election mean?

God has a purpose in choosing. Actually this goes along with Romans 8:28. Remember, in Greek that verse says, God works together with all who love Him to bring about good – the purpose to which they were called.

In the above verse from chapter 9, Paul uses a special word for purpose. It means something held out. It’s the Greek word that’s also used for the showbread in the Temple. They are also called the “bread of the presence.”

This showbread was displayed in the holy place of the Temple on a weekly basis. Then, incense would be poured on top of any that was not eaten. So it was eaten and burned each week.

Only those offering service to God may eat this in His presence with their prayers. It was constantly provided for the priests who served at the altar. I believe that it’s also a picture of Christ, since He called himself the Bread of Heaven (John 6:51).

That’s the word Paul used in describing God’s way of choosing. God has a purpose in His calling and choosing.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12

Everything that God does is based upon His preordained plan. His plan was set out from the beginning.

So, God wanted to show that it wasn’t by works that He makes His choice. He didn’t wait to see who gave Him the better offering or service. BEFORE they did anything – God looked ahead and chose the one who would obey His plan for their life.

Getting back to the verse in Romans, in order to see what’s being said, we have to understand love and hate. Contrary to current opinion, when the Bible uses these words, they’re both without emotion.

It’s all about choices. Love is the choice to positively participate in someone’s life. Hate is the choice to negatively participate or not to participate at all.

Knowing that Jacob would participate with His plan, God participated with him. Knowing that Esau would ignore His will, God chose not to work with him.

At first, it may seem unfair that God would say such a thing. But, after the twins progressed, it was obvious that God made the right choice. That’s especially true since it was obvious that Isaac was trying desperately to groom Esau to be the chosen son.

It’s good to know that God has a plan for me. He knows the choices I’ll make, even before I make them. I’m so glad that He works with me to bring about His destiny for my life.

Question: How do you see God’s hand upon your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Destiny of Grace

The Destiny of Grace

We talk a lot about the grace of God.  As believers we’re always praying for grace.  Many of us seem to be always running around seeking God’s grace.  Why is that?  How we answer this question is very important.

Why do you want the grace of God in your life?  Is it simply another way of saying, “I want God’s blessing on my life.”?

I’ve heard grace defined in many different ways.  God’s unmerited favor.  The enabling power and presence of God.  All we need for life and godliness.  They’re all good descriptions, but they leave out a key ingredient – purpose.

There’s always a reason attached to the grace of God.  Listen to how the Apostle Paul explains it.

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.

Romans 1:5

In this short verse I see three elements of grace. They speak not only about what God wants to bless us with, but how He wants us to use what He freely gives us. We need to take these to heart as we seek to manifest God’s grace.

Through Him and for His Name’s Sake – He doesn’t give us His grace so that we can spend it on our own pleasures.  It’s about His agenda on the earth.  What does the Lord want to accomplish through me?  That’s where His grace comes to the forefront.

I need to pick up this attitude.  I receive His grace so that His name will be magnified in my life.

We Received Grace and Apostleship – Grace and calling go hand in hand.  Seeking God’s grace without finding your calling in Christ is worthless.  It’s through His grace that you fulfill your purpose.

It’s the Lord’s grace that brings you into your destiny – what you were created for.  Without that knowledge, you’re simply living from problem to problem.  Instead of always seeking grace to get over the next obstacle, find the direction that the Holy Spirit is leading you to.

To Call People from among All the Gentiles – Paul was aware that God’s grace had pinpoint accuracy.  He was called to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles.  That’s why God poured His grace on Paul’s ministry.

It’s the same for us.  As we grow in Christ, we need to fine tune our calling.  Who am I called to reach?  What are my gifts and abilities?  As you begin to answer these questions, you find that perfect position of grace that you’re called to walk in.

Be careful to always heed Paul’s warning…

As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.

2 Corinthians 6:1

This means that I don’t receive the grace of God for no purpose.  Grace is always attached to destiny.  Our walk today must be with an eternal focus. That’s what the Lord’s grace is all about.

Question: How have you seen the grace of God active in your life and ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2020 in Ministry, Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Grace for a Purpose

Paul continues to talk about the attitudes of a true minister in his second letter to the Corinthian church.  It’s something we can apply to our lives right now.

As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.
2 Corinthians 6:1

We talk a lot about the grace of God. As believers, we’re always praying for grace. Many seem to be always running around seeking God’s grace. Why is that? How we answer that question is very important.

Why do you want the grace of God in your life? Is it another way of saying, “I want God’s blessing on my life.”?

I’ve heard grace defined in many different ways. God’s unmerited favor. The enabling power and presence of God. All we need for life and godliness. They’re all good descriptions, but they leave out a key ingredient – purpose.

There’s always a reason attached to the grace of God. Listen to how the Apostle Paul explains it in his letter to the Roman church.

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
Romans 1:5

In this short verse, I see three elements of grace. They speak not only about what God wants to bless us with, but how He wants us to use what He freely gives us. We need to take these to heart as we seek to manifest God’s grace.

Through Him and for His Name’s Sake – He doesn’t give us His grace so that we can spend it on our pleasures. It’s about His agenda on the earth. What does the Lord want to accomplish through me? That’s where His grace comes to the forefront.

I need to pick up this attitude. I receive His grace so that His name will be magnified in my life.

We Received Grace and Apostleship – Grace and calling go hand in hand. Seeking God’s grace without finding your calling in Christ is worthless. It’s through His grace that you fulfill your purpose.

It’s the Lord’s grace that brings you into your destiny – what you were created for. Without that knowledge, you’re simply living from problem to problem. Instead of always seeking grace to get over the next obstacle, find the direction that the Holy Spirit is leading you to.

To Call People from among All the Gentiles – Paul was aware that God’s grace had pinpoint accuracy. He was called to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. That’s why God poured His grace on Paul’s ministry.

It’s the same for us. As we grow in Christ, we need to fine-tune our calling. Who am I called to reach? What are my gifts and abilities? As you begin to answer these questions, you find that perfect position of grace that you’re called to walk in.

Be careful to always heed Paul’s warning not to receive God’s grace in vain.  That means that I don’t receive the grace of God for no purpose. Grace is always attached to destiny. Our walk today must be with an eternal focus. That’s what the Lord’s grace is all about.

Question: How have you seen the grace of God active in your life and ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2020 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Eyes on the Prize

The Olympics are a worldwide phenomenon.  It seems like for two weeks, everything else is put on hold.  There are no other important news stories.  Everyone focuses on the competition.

Are you one of those people who loves watching the drama of the Olympics unfold?  If so, what excites you about it?

Paul used the backdrop of the Olympics to explain his view of the ministry.  Listen to how he puts it.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24

In the ministry, we’re competing for the prize.  The prize is your destiny in Christ.  It should be your reason for living.

The fact is that only one gets the prize.  It’s the one who pushes himself out in front and crosses the finish line first.  Please understand that I’m not talking about racing against other believers.

No, you’re racing against yourself.  Your lazy self, your proud self, your distracted self, and your “all for Christ” self.  They’re all running against each other.  Run in such a way that you get the prize the Lord has called you to receive.

Paul tells us how this is accomplished.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27

The first key is strict training versus running aimlessly.  We need to focus on our calling in Christ.  What is it that the Lord wants you to accomplish?  What will it take for you to lay hold of it?

This is something that we need to hear in our generation.  We get so distracted by all that’s happening around us.  There are so many opportunities to participate in.

I wish it were simply a matter of right and wrong, but it’s not.  It’s about what you want to accomplish for eternity.

There’s nothing wrong with eating a hot fudge sundae.  However, if you’re training to run a marathon, then it’s not the best food choice.  In our ministry, we avoid certain activities, not because they’re wrong, but because they’re counter-productive to what we want to accomplish.

The other issue is beating the air versus beating my body.  This makes it clear that we truly are competing against our own selves.

Who is going to be in charge?  Will the desires of my flesh determine my destiny?  Or will I, instead, let my spirit lead me into God’s perfect will for my life?

These are the things we need to deal with on a daily basis.  We put the flesh down and build the spirit up.

Of course, that’s not easy or comfortable.  I’m talking about fasting and prayer.  Then there’s prayer in the spirit and meditating on the Word of God.  I also have to be in right relationship with my fellow believers.

Do I have to do these things in order to be a “good Christian”?  Absolutely not.

Unless…your goal is to win the prize of your destiny in Christ.

Question: What is your “strict training” that pushes you toward the prize?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2019 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Called to Become

The next encounter we have in Mark’s gospel is the calling of the four fishermen.  I’m referring to Andrew, Peter, James, and John.

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.  Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Mark 1:16-20

In this narrative, we’re only given the outline of what happened.  It should be obvious from human nature and the accounts in the other gospels that this was not the first time these men had met Jesus.  No one will leave their family business because an unknown man walks by and asks them to follow Him.

On the contrary, there was already a relationship that had formed between these five men.  Jesus had been preaching and healing the sick throughout the area.  At one point, Peter even let Jesus use his boat as a pulpit.  They knew the Lord’s ministry.

We know from John’s gospel, that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist.  He had heard John’s testimony of Jesus being the Messiah.  He had met with Christ in private, and then Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Him.

This was not just a “cold call” on the part of the Lord.  It was the culmination of an ongoing relationship.  They knew who it was that was calling them.  They wanted what Christ was offering.

But what was the Lord promising them?  It’s a very interesting way to invite someone.  There are two important phrases that Jesus says to them.  The first is; I will make you.

He told them that if they’d fall in behind Him, He’d do a work in their lives.  I think that’s the key, even for us.  It’s our job to follow – that’s all.  Too often we get the idea that we need to work on changing ourselves.  Then we get frustrated with the results.

If I’m willing to spend time in the Lord’s presence, through the Holy Spirit, He’ll bring about the changes needed in my life.  That’s where the power is.  It’s clear from Scripture that only the spirit can control the flesh.

The second phrase is not apparent in this English translation.  It’s the phrase; to become.  The original Greek reads; I will make you to become fishers of men.  I believe this means it’s a process, not an instant change.

God has a calling on your life and mine.  He wants us to become something for His glory.  I wish that the transformation was instant, the day I bowed my knee to Him as Lord.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work that way.

There’s a growing process involved.  I follow behind Christ.  I spend time in the spirit.  Over time, the work of God’s grace becomes evident in my life.  Eventually, I become what I was created to be.

It was like that with these disciples.  They had their rough spots.  Sometimes it looked like they’d never get there.  But after the day of Pentecost, they turned their world upside-down for the glory of Christ.

Let this speak to you.  Follow behind Christ.  Be patient.  Don’t get frustrated that the changes in your life aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like them to.  Become a disciple of Christ through the work of His Holy Spirit in you.

Question: What are some changes that are already evident in your life since you started following Christ?

© 2017 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Great Cover-Up

Are you involved in a cover-up? I’m not talking about spies, or corporate espionage. I’m referring to a spiritual cover-up.

Our society has made it so easy for us. We have access to more entertainment, sporting events, and educational opportunities than any other generation before us. These are all good things, unless…

Many people, Christians included, know that their lives aren’t what they should be. But instead of dealing with the problem, they hide in a sea of amusement. The word, amuse, a-muse, literally means to not think.

We will fill our lives with so much that we don’t have to think about and deal with the problems. James talks about this condition.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:8-10

Many people read this passage out of context and dismiss it as purely condemnation. They refuse to accept it as a word of warning to them.

The word sinner has become a bad word to us. It simply means someone who’s missing the mark – they’re not experiencing all that God has for them.

That’s what happens when you’re double-minded; you haven’t fully committed to trust God’s plan over yours. You miss out on God’s best when you only trust Him part of the time.

The key word in all of this is, grieve. It doesn’t sound good, but it’s actually sound advice. It literally means to realize one’s own misery. There’s a point when you have to shut off the continual stream of entertainment and take stock of your life.

That’s why this verse has to be read in the context of the whole section it’s in. James is speaking to people who find themselves in the conditions he described in chapters 3 and 4. If you find that your life has disorder and evil that you can’t overcome. Or maybe you’ve been praying for things with no results. It could be that you’ve tried to resist the enemy and he doesn’t leave you alone.

These are the things that James is trying to get you to think about. Are you living up to God’s best plan for your life? At some point we all have to stop and think about it.

Please realize that the goal of all of this is NOT to ruin your fun. God is not intent on being the universal party-pooper. He wants you to enjoy the greatest fulfillment and potential that you could ever hope to achieve.

This is made clear by his last statement. If you’re willing to bring your life back into God’s order, then He will lift you up. The verse says that He wants to elevate you above the circumstances.

The choice is yours. You can continue to climb your own ladder of success. But if you do, you may get to the top only to find that you placed it against the wrong wall.

The other choice is to turn around and step into God’s elevator. Follow His plan for your life and let Him have complete responsibility for getting you to your destiny.

So rather than this verse being about judgment and condemnation, we need to see it as a call to stop the cover-up. If that’s for you, the answer is simple. It’s time to repent and start off in a new direction in Christ.

Question: How has God’s plan proven to be better than yours so far?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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No Pain, No Gain

JogI’ve been posting about the uses of Scripture as listed in 2 Timothy 3:16. Today I’m going to talk about training in righteousness.

This word training means to mentor or to train up like a child from infancy to adulthood. The Bible is written for all. It doesn’t matter where you are in your spiritual walk.

If you’re a baby Christian, who was just saved, it can be your milk bottle. If you’re mature in the Lord, it has the meat of the deep truths of God. It can satisfy any hunger.

But what exactly does it train us in? Paul is very specific – training in righteousness.

In Scripture, you’ll find that righteousness is the whole package of what Christ has paid for on the cross. Throughout the Word righteousness is associated with: Rewards, victory in battle, prosperity, salvation, honor, life, and healing. Scripture truly is the owner’s manual for our walk with the Lord.

When Paul speaks about training in righteousness, he’s talking about the whole plan of God for your life. The job of Scripture is to take you from wherever the Lord found you when you were saved to the heights of His perfect plan for your life.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

The word discipline in this verse is the same Greek word as training in Second Timothy. The writer of Hebrews tells us that there is pain associated with this kind of training. Why is that?

The answer is simple. This training is what causes us to grow from infancy to maturity. Growth means change, and change hurts. Think about it – when I was an infant I could throw my toys all over the floor and my parents would joyfully pick everything up.

Then, there came a day when I was told, “It’s time to pick up your toys and put them away.” There must have been a look of pain and distress on my face when I had to clean my room.

Then, there came a day when I couldn’t just do as I pleased all day long. My parents came to me and informed me that I would be starting school next week. Suddenly there was a place I had to be every day. At school, they made me read, learn, and take tests whether I wanted to or not. It was painful to me.

As a matter of fact, almost every new responsibility throughout our lives causes some degree of discomfort. That’s what this Scripture is talking about. As we’re brought to maturity there are going to be painful changes.

There are things we used to do, that we’re no longer able to do. There are also things we’ve never done that we’re now responsible for. Through it all we must let the Scripture do its work, so that we can be mature and complete – not lacking anything that the Lord has provided for us.

Question: What did you find painful in this maturing process?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2016 in Scripture Series, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Getting Back on Track

FallenFor the past couple of posts I’ve been talking about the purposes of Scripture as recorded in II Timothy 3:16. In it, Paul shows us what the Bible should be used for. These are teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness. So far, I’ve talked about how the Scripture teaches and rebukes us.

In today’s article, we’ll look at the work of correcting that the Scripture brings into our lives. There are some misunderstandings about correction. So the first thing we need is to know what it means. It sounds a lot like rebuking, at least that’s what many people think.

There is, in fact, a subtle difference between rebuking and correcting. In my walk with God I need both. It’s interesting that the Greek word for correcting, in the verse from Second Timothy, is only used in this one place in the whole Bible. It literally means to straighten up again.

I need to be rebuked so that I’ll stop doing that which is not God’s will for my life. But the process can’t end there. If it did, then I’d be lost, out of God’s plan, and with no way to find my way back to where I should be. Praise the Lord! He doesn’t leave us in that condition.

While rebuking tells you to stop because you’re headed in a wrong direction, it’s correction that shows you the way back to the right path for your life. Correction changes your course so that you’re once again heading in the direction of the destiny God’s called you to.

What we need to realize is that true repentance requires both rebuke and correction. Just one is not enough. There are many believers who respond to the rebuke of Scripture – again and again. Week after week they’re seen weeping at the altar over their sin. Then they go right back to it, only to repeat the cycle over and over. This isn’t God’s way of repenting.

In their song, The Altar and the Door, Casting Crowns sings about this condition.

“O Lord I cry, like so many times before,
But my eyes are dry before I leave the floor,
O Lord I try,
But this time, Jesus, how can I be sure,
I will not lose my follow-through,
Between the altar and the door.”

Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.
Revelation 2:5a

There are many times that we see this pattern in Scripture. It’s usually “repent and…” True repentance is not only a turning away from sin, but a turning to God’s best. Feeling sorry for my sin is not real repentance, even if it’s accompanied by great emotional distress.

True repentance takes place when I take the rebuke of Scripture and admit my fault to God. Then I must take the correction of the Word and start doing the right things that will replace the wrong. Only in this way will I have a greater chance for success in my walk with God.

Question: How have the rebuke and correction of the Word been helpful to you in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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