The cost of obedience is high. However, the cost of disobedience is higher.
SOS 3:1-2, “All night long on my bed I looked for the One my heart loves; I looked for Him, but did not find Him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the One my heart loves. So I looked for Him but did not find Him.”
We see the Lord’s response to the Shulamite’s refusal to obey the call of Him to “arise my darling, my beautiful one and come with Me” (SOS 2: 10). Her disobedience was not a form of rebellion, but instead immaturity and fear. She feared that total obedience would be too difficult and too costly for her. She was afraid to take risks and leave her comfort zone. So now she is experiencing the loving discipline of the Lord as He removes His manifest presence from her heart.
The beloved has cried out for her Lover and has enjoyed the riches of His love: in the bed chambers (SOS 1:4), at the table (SOS 1:12), in the House of Wine (SOS 2:4) ~ when a new level of obedience & faith was asked of her, she refused. She was challenged. Jesus withdraws the one thing she loves most~ His Presence. The Lord is not angry with her, but jealously wants her to share His values as a mature Bride so that she might walk in deeper partnership with Him.The Beloved is learning that the cost of obedience is high, but the cost of disobedience is higher.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “discipline”? Even writing out the title of this blog post was difficult. I was thinking about ways to write “discipline” without it conjuring up thoughts from our past experiences with parents/teachers/coaches/etc in each of our minds. Let me give some definition to what I mean when I write “discipline”: From Webster’s 1828 dictionary, “To instruct or educate; to inform the mind; to prepare by instructing in correct principles and habits; as, to discipline youth for a profession, or for future usefulness”; the word is from Latin, meaning to learn.
Discipline is not the same as punishment. Punishment involves fear. It is the feeling that you are going to pay a price for your mistakes. There is no grace in the process, only fear.
The Father loves us too much to allow us to come up short of being the glorious mature Bride of Christ. The Lord pries our fingers off of the things that hold us in bondage. He has new things for us to walk into. The cost of obedience is high. However, the cost of disobedience is higher. God is patient with us and He gives us time to repent & turn from disobedience. But never mistake the patience of God with His approval.
What are your thoughts about God? AW Tozer says, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Many of us have a wrong concept about the nature of God. Our thinking is not aligned with who He really is. We must break off the wrong thoughts like “God is mad at me” or “This time I’ve gone too far” or “Maybe His patience has run out” or “He’s always looking for me to screw up”. We must renounce these wrong thoughts; reject them and declare the Truth about who God is and how much He loves us and desires us to go with Him~ to push past pain or fear or uncertainty or comfort and say “yes” to radical obedience.
It is not enough just to say we love God. Are we willing to say YES to His heart when He challenges us to 100% obedience, NO MATTER WHAT?
The Lord withdrew His Presence from the shulamite bride, not to shut her heart down, but to awaken love for Him. When He disciplines us, it is to awaken love for Him.
If you find yourself in a season of discipline, ask the Lord to awaken love for Him and to awaken a fresh hunger for Him. Go after Him. Refuse a dull spirit! Do not settle! Do not compromise!