No matter where we are in our walk with the Lord, we have an innate desire to please him. Deep with our spirits, we long to bring him something special as our personal love gift for all that he has done for us.
In the pursuit of touching the heart of God, we must remember that he chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes (Ephesians 1:4). The Bible teaches us that at just the right time Christ died for us, while we were dead in our transgressions(Romans 5:6).
We have already touched the heart of God by responding to his love through his word. When we accepted Jesus Christ as our savior, we touched the heart of God and it brought him much pleasure (Ephesians 1:5). As his dearly loved children, we continue to touch his heart by seeking him and by obeying him.
One of the joys of parenthood is an obedient child; they fill our hearts with so much pleasure. Our response to them is always favorable and we cannot do enough for that child. On the other hand, if we have a child that is continually disobedient, we spend all our time correcting and disciplining them. It is hard to enjoy them; our time spent is more of a struggle. I found it hard but necessary to discipline my children because I love them hoping to save their life.
Our Heavenly Father responds favorably to an obedient child. I am sure that it hurts him deeply to continually discipline a rebellious child. It can be quite painful on both sides when all he wants to do is bless us and give to us all the things he has planned for us.
The difference between discipline and testing are miles apart; they both have a common purpose to grow us in Christ Jesus. Testing comes to develop, strengthen and deepen our faith. These tests can be brief moments of time, when we make a correct choice or they can be longer, refining us through a hard situation. Discipline is quite different; because God loves us, he will get our attention not allowing a behavior to continue.
Over the years, I can quickly discern the difference as one who has been under the Lord’s discipline often. First, he will warn me of sin, if I confess it right away, all is forgiven and we get back to growing. If I ignore the warning and continue to sin; I notice my peace is gone, I feel angry all the time. If that doesn’t get my attention, I notice that my joy is gone, I have no song in my heart; finally, my desire for the Lord has disappeared. I don’t have interest in reading my bible, praying or any spiritual thing. When he has gotten my attention, I confess my rebellion, I am forgiven and we begin again. This is how I know when I am under discipline from the Lord.
Testing can be long and sometimes brutal, it is called a “refiners fire” with good reason. What makes testing different for me is I sense the presence of the Lord. He is comforting my heart, he is encouraging me, and I hear his voice through my tears. He speaks peace, joy, love and all I want to do is praise him. In trials and testing, it is for his purpose to grow our faith that is more precious to him than gold (1 Peter 1:7).
How we love the mountain top experience of the Lord’s blessing and provision, enjoying the sweet green pastures, resting along the peaceful streams of his bounty. When testing or discipline come we will sometimes walk in the valley of despair wondering if the Lord is still there. Other times, we find ourselves somewhere in between, not knowing if we are in the right place or doing the right things.
Touching the heart of God can bring us much joy and pleasure, which is only a prayer away. Ask the Lord for an obedient heart, to quicken your mind to his voice and be willing to do what he asks. Don’t let all the time you spend with him be in discipline because his great love always wins!
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