As a child, one of the most difficult actions that I fulfilled was to focus my mind on the things that are important or on the things that makes sense. In my childish foolishness, I despised my parents’ reproofs and admonitions. Of course, later did I realize that without their reproofs and admonitions, my exertions would have been futile. A decade later, I thought I didn’t have that kind of situation anymore. It was only recently when I realized that I still have that kind of difficulty.
Children need reproof or admonition not just once but many times. As spiritual children of God, so do we. Just like children, sometimes we forget; sometimes we ignore; sometimes we don’t heed because perhaps we think our judgment is better or because we simply lack faith; sometimes we don’t really cherish and sometimes we don’t really care. Children are taught to avoid food that may be contaminated with harmful ingredients like harmful preservatives (such as MSG), harmful artificial food coloring, harmful artificial food flavoring and other sorts of food contaminators. Resembling children, we are taught to abominate or eschew or avoid things that may corrupt or perverse or “contaminate” our spiritual food. One of the things that contaminate our spiritual food for example is hypocrisy (Matt. 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1). In these verses, Jesus tells us to beware of the “leaven of the Pharisees”. The Pharisees mix a little lie with the truth which makes it very deceptive and makes the words of the Pharisees seem harmless, and so, many are deceived. Junk food seems harmless but many suffer health problems because of it.
An action we say is a manifestation of a thought, so we need to sift the things that our minds sip. Isn’t this world full of things to avoid? I suppose that’s one of the reasons why God sanctifies His children (Ex. 31:13; Lev. 20:8, 21:8; Ez. 20:12). In 1 Corinthians 10:21, we read: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of the demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s Table and of the table of the demons.” We are to choose between carnality and spirituality (Romans 8:6-8 explains why). Continuing in verse 22: “Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” Think about a child who is fed with good food at home but eats a lot of junk food in school. Isn’t it useless that he eats good food at home if he eats junk food in school? Please note that I’m not trying to imply that we loathe and step on unbelievers, I don’t think that this would be a Godly thing to do. Neither am I trying to imply that we make friends and covenants with unbelievers, that would draw us away from God. Perhaps the following verses will help shed light for the matter: Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Cor. 16:13-18; Heb. 13:17; James 4:4-10; 1 Pet. 2:11-17, 5:1-8.
In 1 Corinthians 10:11, the apostle Paul wrote: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the end of the ages have come.” In other words, the Bible is written for our admonition – God’s gentle reproof. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes we forget, sometimes we ignore, sometimes we don’t heed, sometimes we don’t really cherish or sometimes we don’t really care what we read in the Bible because of carnal preoccupations. We sometimes prefer satan’s flattering words rather than God’s reproof or admonition. King Solomon who was given wisdom, admonishes us in Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Because we are occupied or preoccupied with this world’s flattering worlds, it seems to us that God has nothing for us but reproof and admonition. Corruption, perversion, uncleanness, pride, vanities, etc., are rampant in this world because it’s not yet part of God’s Kingdom, and so we need reproof and admonition not just once but many times. If we do not always receive admonition or reproof from God, it’s most likely that we would end up in one of satan’s snares (Prov. 13:13-14; 14:26-27).
Endeavor to Love
Children are taught to regard other children as much as they would regard themselves. So are we (Lev. 19:17-18). We seem to endeavor to gratify our ego/egoism/egotism or pride or vanities (Aren’t these the endeavors of satan? Satan wants to be “higher” than everyone [Isaiah 14:12-21]). God, our Almighty, Loving Father, as described in 1 John 4:8, is Love. We, His children should endeavor to be like Him – to be love. In part, I believe, love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Reading the book of Ecclesiastes, we can enumerate some of the extreme futile things that we do: endeavoring to be the “most intelligent”, serving pleasure and mirth, heaping riches or endeavoring to be the richest, endeavoring to be the most popular, and the list could go on, and on and on. It seems that there is nothing wrong with these things but where is love? Our futile endeavors basically resemble satan’s endeavors, “to be like the Most High” or to be “first” or “higher” than others. Without love in us, there is no profit or we are nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3). So, how do we get rid of our futile or unprofitable exertions? I’ll give one as an example: Instead of watching a lot of television programs, why don’t we study the bible or review our ministers’ sermons and sermonettes? It’s not only ministers who need personal Bible study. There’s a lot of nonsense and carnal things that are getting our attention in this world like all sorts of vanities which make us need reproof and admonition from our Almighty, Loving God.
Lastly, as for my inferences (if you think there were), because I’m still a young man, I second what Paul wrote in his epistle for the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 10:15. (For a bit of thrill, I give you the pleasure of reading that verse yourself in the Bible.)