Asking the title of this article, you will probably hear nothing but crickets. Few would be jumping up to form a line to receive corrections. So let me pose it this way. Who would want to be driving down a winding country road at night, come to the top of a hill and find a man waving a light, and see a sign warning of a bridge out around the next bend? Now you would be all for that! How about if that man waving was your Pastor, your supervisor, or a Highway Patrol officer?
Do you remember the game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” During the show, the selected contestants would answer questions in hopes of winning a million dollars. The questions would increase in difficulty, as the money value rose. If a question were too difficult, the contestants could get help from lifelines. These lifelines allowed the contestant to poll the audience, ask an expert, or my favorite phone a friend. Using their lifelines, contestants could correct their thinking and avoid choosing the wrong answer.
In our lives, our gracious, loving, merciful God has given us lifelines. One of these is Correction. We need to have this mindset, “Correction is Good!” Correction can save untold problems in life. It can guide us from a wrong path and put us back on the path that will cause us to intersect with the promises God has given us. It can lead us to prosperity and bring healing to our bodies and relationships. In some cases, it can even save one’s life.
The Holy Spirit, through Solomon and the writer of Hebrews, tells us to not despise the LORD’s discipline and correction. (Proverbs 3:11,12 Hebrews 12:5-11) These scriptures let us know that when God corrects us, we are being loved and accepted in relationship. As a loving Father, He corrects and trains us to live disciplined lives, to mature and grow up. We must not forget that the goal is to conform to the image of Christ. To do this we need to be in submission to Him as LORD. Trusting Him will help us to accept that we can and that we must endure or take corrections.
Proverbs 19:20 The Message
Take good counsel and accept correction that is the way to live wisely and well.
If I said, “Here take this.” I could be handing you a hundred-dollar bill, or a big slice of pie! Taking is an action you must do to receive something. You got to grab the Franklin! You must put a fork in the pie and it and lift it to your mouth! It is no different with corrections. You must take, accept, and receive them. There can be severe consequences in not receiving corrections.
The first example I see is with Cain after he and his brother brought offerings to the LORD. The LORD did not accept Cain’s offering and spoke to him about it. The LORD gave him correction and encouragement, but Cain refused and ended up murdering his brother and received the judgment from the LORD.
Next, we see this in the life of Saul, Israel’s first king. Saul did not follow the instructions of the LORD given to him through Sameul the prophet. In doing what was not lawful for him to do, offer a sacrifice, Saul brought the LORD’s rebuke upon himself. Then two chapters later he, “Opps I did again.” Sameul told him that the LORD would have established his kingdom over Israel for all time, but not now. He would raise up a man after His own heart.
I am sure if we think about it, we can find ourselves in these two examples. Like Cain we allow anger and jealousy to hinder us from receiving correction. Or as with Saul, impatience and fear of what others will think or do, can cause us to offer excuses and not take the correction that we need. I hope none of us would be so arrogant and think that we would never need any correction. Everyone needs correction and sometimes discipline. Most want the results and rewards of a disciplined life without the pain of correction.
I have noticed that as I have matured and increased in understanding of the Word of God, that I am corrected much more than when I was a baby Christian. Now as I go about my day, many are the corrections. Just like when driving my car to work, I will make thousands of changes to the steering wheel, so it is my thoughts, attitudes, and the words I speak. Looking back, I can see there were things that hindered me at times from receiving correction. A couple of decades ago, three words changed my attitude toward correction.
“Reign Trained Horse”
When the preacher said them, I remembered my dad’s horses and how many of them did not require me to pull hard on the reigns, but by just laying that leather strip against their necks, they would turn in the direction I wanted them to go. How wonderful it would be if the Body of Christ would be that way. But some, and there was a time I was this way, need a vigorous yanking and the discomfortable feel of the bit to get our attention.
I have one more example, and this one is a positive one. It is David, the one Sameul told Saul would be after God’s heart. After David’s sin in 2 Samuel 11, the LORD sent Nathan the prophet to David the king. After telling the king about the poor man and his lamb, and David’s angry response, Nathan said, “You are the man!” But it is David’s response, “I have sinned against the Lord,” that caused the LORD to take away his sin. David did not make excuses, he did not blame shift, he confessed to the LORD and as time went on, he would accept the consequences. David accepted the correction of the LORD.
If we find ourselves like David, and the Lord puts His finger on something in your life, then it is time to grab another lifeline that has been provided for us, that is the lifeline of repentance. Follow David’s example and put your nose in the carpet!