Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
Do you remember times when you were growing up when you wanted to do something and were told “No” by your parents? Did you receive it well or did you respond somewhat negatively – like “You don’t love me!”? If a child is caught doing something wrong and is disciplined for it, there is a natural tendency to respond negatively unless s/he is trained not to.
How well do we respond in adulthood to such input from our spouse, employer, boss, mentor, neighbor, friend, etc…? When our two oldest sons were little (about 4 and 5) we were visiting dear friends who were like parents to Donna and me. After being with them for a couple days, they sat us down and asked us, “Do you realize your sons argue with you every time you tell them to do or not to do something?”
While it wasn’t pleasant to hear, we received their counsel because 1) it was true, 2) they loved us, 3) we wanted to be godly parents, and 4) we wanted to “train our children up in the way they should go”. The couple went on to instruct us how to change and bring about the changes in the boys. We had an opportunity to repent and become better parents. We embraced the process.
When I look at today’s verse, I see three ‘pieces’. We all have a tendency to respond or react to the second and third ‘pieces’ of it, glossing over the first:
- Those whom I love
- Rebuke and discipline
- Be earnest and repent
We don’t like to be rebuked, disciplined, corrected or confronted – whether directly or subtly. We also have a tendency to see repentance as more of a ‘big ticket item’ rather than as an essential reality in our daily lives. But let’s focus on the first piece of this. Notice how the Amplified version expands the context of this verse in terms of God’s love for us and our approach to repentance:
“Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].” (Amplified)
This isn’t something dry and cold – it’s a love gift from the One who loves us so very much. He tells us where we need to change, how to change and He enables us to change. The entire process is the way of life that is absolutely essential to our growth and godliness. Without it we would never be transformed into the image of Jesus. We embrace our God when we embrace it.
To be continued…