The Reproof

"Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you. I will make my words known to you." Proverbs 1:23

Ron Dunn was the man God used to point out to me the importance of being under authority. He poured great insight onto a statement made by a Roman soldier who crossed paths with Jesus. The Centurion desired for Jesus to heal his servant, but he saw no need for Jesus to make a trip to his home to accomplish the task at hand. When Jesus offered to go to his home and heal his servant, the Centurion humbly expressed that he was not worthy of the honor. He said to Jesus, "I also am a man under authority."He encouraged Jesus to just speak the word and the will of The One He represented would be done. His submission to Caesar's authority enabled him to recognize Jesus held a similar position. Jesus had influence and power because of the honor and respect he held for the One who had sent Him. Jesus remarked, "Truly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel...Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed." Matthew 8:5-13

Reproof carries the description of a verbal rebuke. It is a concerned call to turn back from a dangerous path. It involves chastening and correction meant for direction and protection. It is based upon a genuine love that a parent has for a child, or a teacher has for his disciple to avoid the disastrous consequences that will result from uncorrected behavior. The word spoken is swift and it is sharp. It is meant to cut through the din of deafening and deceiving voices that have led someone to make poor choices. The same word is is used to describe correction, argument, rebuke, correction, chasten and reasoning. None of these word indicate a concern for a person's feelings, self-esteem, ego, or a toleration for the platitudes of political correctness. They are meant to convey a crisis is at hand and that a correction must take place immediately.

Turning, in and of itself, is a learning experiencing. Learning to trust God's Word to speak to us at the first sign of enemy activity allows Him to provide us direction, correction and protection. God's Word provides His Wisdom. The character of Christ, unveiled by His Spirit, sheds light in the darknes. We sometimes wander into the dark due to our own inclination to sin. We are inlcined to separate ourselves from The One who loves us the most. When we trust to be true in the dark, what we knew to be true in the light, we take a huge step in the right direction.

Repent is not a word that will ever be popular word in a culture that honors self-absorbed and the self-destructive behavior. Waywardness is wilfuluness moving away from the sound of God's still small voice of reproof. The longer we walk in the wrong direction, the stronger the reproof must be. Gov. Mike Huckabee was once asked if he had every heard God speak to him in an audible voice. Huckabee responded, "No it was much louder than that!" Now that's what I'm talking about! Can I get a witness?

Jay Strack passes on a valuable piece of insight for anyone interested in correcting behavior. He often says, "Rules without relationship always lead to rebellion." In other words, it is unlikely that you are going to have much success in turning a person back to the right path if that person has no respect for you. If the person in need of correction senses that you place more value on your rules than you do on them, they are likely to reject both you and your rules. Being right and being rightly related to someone are not one and the same thing. Go figure!

I know this is anecdotal analysis, but I am pretty sure the first complete sentence a child learns to say is, "You're not the boss of me!" There is something in the human spirit that makes even the youngest fool resent the fool out of being called a fool. There is even greater resentment and resistance generated by having to admit to being a fool.

Wisdom is a sign of maturity. It is not found in taking pride or taking credit for being right. It comes from the humility of making course corrections that are a result of having to admit that we are often wrong. One of the great reliefs of a child of God is the coming of age revelation that Father knows best. Reproof from God the Father is sent to His children with the divine intent of providing direction, correction and protection to the ones He loves the most. The rules are based upon the relationship He provided for His children through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son. He sustains this relationship with those He loves by the outpouring of His Spirit upon those who will quickly turn to the reproof of still small voice and the truth of His Word.

Turning leads to learning more about the Father's love for you. Thank God for His love for you. He loves you exactly the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you the way He found you. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!