Have you ever heard a Christian say something like the following: “Well,God made me this way, so everyone else should just accept me, flaws and all” or perhaps “I don’t need to change, Jesus loves me just the way I am”?
While it is true that God pursues us and loves while we are still sinners, it is equally true that he is not satisfied to leave us that way. God finds ways of wearing off the rough edges of his children.
In the case of Jacob, God gave it to him in two doses. The first came in the form of his uncle Laban, who turns out to be a bigger trickster than Jacob himself. Not only is Jacob deceived into marrying the older, less-desirable sister first, but he is duped into working a full fourteen years for the girl he wanted to marry in the first place. Certainly there were many long days in the field that allowed Jacob to consider the injustices done to him...and the ones he had done first to put him in this situation.
But the second dose of discipline from the Lord came in the form of children—and barrenness. Just as Jacob’s father favored Esau over Jacob, Jacob had a favorite among his wives. Just as God favored the unfavored one among Isaac’s sons, so too He now favored the unfavored one among Jacob’s wives. Over the course time as Leah bore four sons while Rachel remained barren, God reminded Jacob that the favoritism in his family did nothing to promote a happy home and childhood.
Jacob picked up the two worst trait of each of his parents: the deceptiveness of his mother and the favoritism of his father. God addresses and challenges both of them.
The same is true for today. God will address and challenge our sinful habits and tendencies. He will wear on the very rough edges of our hearts that we want to keep hidden. And that is a good thing.
Don’t let it discourage you if you feel disciplined by God. The writer of Hebrews says that is a sure sign of God’s love for you (Hebrews 12:4-11). And don’t buy into the lie that you’re just fine the way you are. Only one person in history could ever truly make that statement without exception.
1. Read Hebrews 12:4-7. Have you ever experienced the discipline of the Lord? Does it feel like he loves you in the midst of his rebuke?
2. What sorts of sinful tendencies have you picked up from your parents? Can you see the ways God is slowing trying to wear those rough edges away?
3. Can you think of some personal areas where God might be currently wearing on some of your rough edges? How could this affect your relationship with others? Your relationship with God?