It’s been so many years since my mum passed away, yet obviously memories linger. The featured image is of my parents on their engagement. Yes my mum had many faults without a doubt, she wasn’t perfect but nonetheless there have been way too many instances pretty much on a daily basis that I thank God for blessing me with her as my mother, using her to raise me, to instill values and live in a certain manner.
My friends especially back in Canada used to tease me as being “Immelda Marcos” – my shoes mattered the most to me. As far as I’m concerned that is what makes or breaks the wardrobe and I’m happy with having few outfits but I like them to be ‘complete’. I guess this ‘shoe’ craze was in me all along in life.I remember when growing up my mum would refuse to let me have more than one pair of sandals. A new pair wouldn’t be bought until my old pair had given way. Now I was someone who had an ‘organised mess’ of a room (that was how my brother defines my room) but I had everything kept carefully. Inevitably nothing will happen to my sandals for a lonnnnng time.
On the other hand I would watch my brothers go through so many pairs of shoes as they were simply BOYS. I would watch them buy new shoes with jealousy and then wish I were like them. I would then scheme to see the end of the wearable life of the sandal, get myself ready to implement the scheme and then give up out of a guilt conscience! Needless to say I would whine and complain to my mum but she was adamant. She would say that I needed to learn to manage so that I can cope in times of lack.
That discipline she exercised helped me immensely when I began to live by faith. Despite having left a career in a developed country with a high salary wearing only designer clothes, I was able to manage without what I would have considered ‘basics’ in a third world country. (Of course now I’m going through another rebuke from God that comes with adapting too much – I guess I should write on that in the next post).
Often we confuse love with pleasing – merging the two concepts together. God loves us unconditionally. He loved us first even before we loved Him. In fact He sacrificed His one and only Son in order to bridge the gap of intimacy between us and Him.. that’s how much He loves us. Jesus surrendered to the overwhelming undeserved suffering because He loved us.. His entire focus was set on our Father’s business and like the Father His desire too is so that none will perish. Of course what we choose is another issue altogether!
Many earthly parents want to keep their kids happy and please them – so they dance around their tunes and give into what ever the kids ask of them.. If the child wants something NOW that’s given to them. “NO” isn’t in their vocabulary. Yet God says through Paul,
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord – Ephesians 6:4
with the condition being ‘in the discipline and instruction’ not of man or of the parents but OF THE LORD.
Our Heavenly Father loves us and disciplines us while modelling the way. In fact there are 25 occurrences of the word ‘discipline’ in the ESV Bible.
Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you – Deuteronomy 8:5
Yes, it was said in OT days but rings true for today too…
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:5-11
Thus God wants us to be zealous and repent (Revelation 3:19).
Discipline and pleasing are at two ends of the stick. We often do things we don’t want to do because we want to please people, be in their good books. Been there done that and now learning through the hard way that we can never please; at the end of the day we end up displeasing God through the pleasing of man.
I hear Paul’s words ringing in my ear:
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ – Galatians 1:10
Satan arrives at the picture with enticement – things that are not of God presented as ‘good’… Pleasing comes before deceiving. Remember how he pleased Eve – this fruit will make you like God making Eve see the ‘good’ in the ‘forbidden’! “Pleasing to the eye, good for food and good for wisdom’. The serpent spirit is just that – pleasing, luring, enticing, wrapping around and bound.
May ask God for wisdom not to be people-pleasers but instead be those who long for God’s way every step of the path no matter how hard knowing it’s for our benefit.
What seems ‘bad’ and ‘tough’ can be for our good
and what seems ‘good’ and ‘lovely’ can be for our bad!
May we seek God for discernment to know the source of every word that is spoken to us so that we can stand firm and not fall into the trap of the enemy!