"Those I love I rebuke and discipline" (Revelation 3:19a, NIV).
I know you love me, Lord, when you correct me. No one enjoys correction, but if I allow it changes my life and brings out your best in me. (Hebrews 12:11). You teach me. You discipline me because you love me, and long to see me become the person you have destined me to be. I will not lose heart or make light of your discipline, but will accept it because you loved me enough to lay down your life for me (Hebrews 12:6). So often self gets in the way, and you allow circumstance—you allow life— to get my attention. Mold me into a person of understanding. If I don’t understand why you correct me then I don’t learn the lesson you wish to impart. I pray with all my heart that I learn your lesson and apply it to my life without you having to discipline me over and over again. “A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool” (Proverbs 17:10, NLT). Lord, I want to understand what you are trying to show me the first time. To be a person of spiritual understanding and not remain foolish, I must die to what I want, and yearn for that which you want to produce in me.
You are the vine, Lord, and I am the branch. If I draw near to you, you are in me. You remain in me, and I learn that apart from you my life produces nothing good. If I do not make you the center of my life, I wither and die. I become of little worth. My life doesn’t blossom with your purpose. I am a dead branch to be picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. But when I remain in you and you are within me, I can pray my heart, and you will provide your promise. You long for me to bear great fruit in my life. I long to be your disciple that is disciplined so that I can learn my greatest potential (John 15:5-8).
If I always seek you and yield my heart to yours, my life will overflow with your purpose and power. If I don't, I will fail. If I don't, there will be no direction. If I don't seek your heart, my existence is only that. Just existence. But if you are the heartbeat of my life, you bring life-giving power and strength to accomplish what otherwise seems impossible. If I bring a heart surrendered to your purpose, then I reap your sufficiency instead my own. Sometimes, Lord, I hang on to a vestige of myself that keeps me from fully surrendering to you. I hang on to my own agenda and die a little more on your vine. I becoe impotent and purposeless. Instead of offering life, I offer that which has no worth—no power—no direction.
You cut off everything in my life that bears no fruit. The good things in my life that you have created are meant to be so much more abundant. So you prune my life so that it yields greater harvest. You want me to flourish beneath your shears (John 15:1-2). Lord, I don't want to be a branch that is cut off because it bears no fruit. I don’t want to be a fool who doesn’t understand the reason I am disciplined. I want to be a branch which bears fruit, and is willing to be pruned in order to bear more. It may hurt, but it is for your best and my best. When I bring a surrendered heart, I bring one that is easily corrected and disciplined. It is not hardened or self-sufficient. When I am willing to listen to your voice instead of my own, I invite you to come in and change me. One lash will then be enough. I will not need a hundred.
-Lynn Hampton Lacher