Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Determined Father

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

My daughter is two and a half years old. She is amazingly well-behaved, but all two year-olds throw fits. That's why they call them the "terrible twos." And it really is amazing what sort of things result in screaming. Here is a short list: Where she sits in the car. Where Mommy sits in the car. Who gets to drive the car. (We have a car theme going here.) Also, nearly every night she doesn't want to brush her teeth. It's the same fight every night. It's like she forgot what happened last night and the night before that and the night before that. Often these tantrums lead me to say something like...
"Hallie, sweetheart, Daddy is going to brush your teeth. The only decision you need to make is how many spankings* you are going to get between now and then. You are not going to bed until they are brushed, so you tell me. How many spankings do you want before we brush them?" 
I have made up my mind that her teeth will be brushed because it is what is best for her. If she chooses to fight against me, then it will take that much longer and be that much more difficult for her, but you can be sure I will not give up until the end goal is accomplished.

Did you know that God has an end goal in mind for all of His children? And I believe He is dead set on reaching it. Each and every believer has been predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son Jesus (Romans 8:29).

Philippians 1:6 is written to believers in Philippi who want to be perfected in Christ. They are meant to take comfort in the knowledge that God is working with them to the same end. Their weaknesses will not disqualify or derail them. God is on their side and He will not give up. This is a truly encouraging thought!

But what of that believer who has accepted Christ but is not overly interested in living like Jesus? What of those believers who want to have their cake and eat it too? They want to be saints but continue to live like heathens. If this describes you, then you should know that God will not give up. I think He would speak to us today very much like I speak to my daughter. God wants you to know that He will accomplish His ends in your life. He will not allow Himself to be thwarted. The only decision you need to make is are you going to work with Him or against Him.

Hebrews 12:5-6 says,
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.”

So if you long to be like Christ, good news! God is working with you. He will never give up. And in the end He will accomplish His goal in your life. But if you are living in rebellion against God, then be warned. You have set yourself against God's express purposes for you life. You are fighting against the Almighty. He will win.

*A note on spankings- I realize that many disapprove of spanking nowadays. Allow me to allay your fears. My wife and I follow the carefully controlled spanking guidelines outlined in the book Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. Spanking done improperly can be abusive. My wife and I are careful to avoid that at all costs.

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