Most Christians, like me, probably don’t particularly like to give biblical correction and guidance. It often seems too confrontational, too holier-than-thou, and too dangerous to a relationship. Yet biblical correction doesn’t have to be any of these. In fact, it can be a blessing to both the recipient and the giver.
Some time ago I found myself in a situation where I needed to give correction. I prayed a lot, sought counsel and somewhat nervously approached the person needing help. To my amazement and relief that person thanked me afterwards!
Another time, in a similar situation, the loving correction I shared was rejected outright. However, over time that Christian realized the folly of disobeying the Bible. That individual has become one of my greatest supporters in ministry!
All Christians are called to a ministry of biblical correction and guidance from time to time. Matthew 18:15-18 describes a process of correction which begins by going personally to help another Christian. Going to other people first is the sin of gossip.
But before proceeding, we must make sure we’re going with the right attitude and approach.
So, here are three Scriptural guidelines for how to share biblical correction and guidance:
I’m never more disgusted with myself than when I continue to practice a horrible habit I hate. There’s hardly anything that frustrates me more. Yet sometimes the habit is so entrenched, I just cannot seem to shake it. Or, just when I seem to be getting victory, the habit grabs me by the throat and pulls me back again.
Of some comfort is the fact that I know others struggle with this same issue. In fact, the great Apostle Paul made this confession: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:15 NLT)
Can you relate?
Here’s the good news: We can have victory. The Bible promises: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.” (1 Corinthians 10:13a NLT)
Here are five steps to conquer a horrible habit you hate:
I’m sure that what I learned from my dad is far more than I realize. Although he went to be with the Lord in 2011, I spent my formative years with him and my mom. I’m sure that I’m a “chip off the old block” in dozens of ways: viewpoints, gestures, facial expressions, voice inflections and looks.
Dad, Claude A. Williams Jr., and me. Note his “trademark” pens in shirt pocket!
Of course, as a teen, being like my dad was unappealing. But with more maturity, I see many ways that I want to be like my dad, if I’m not already.
One of the ways is my dad’s joy in living, even when things seemed pretty bad to me.
While dad was dying, he was in the hospital for about a week and his pastor came and asked him how he was doing. Dad smiled and responded, “As I’ve often said, I’m doing better than I deserve.”
He was asked a few hours before he passed, “How are you doing dad?” His answer, “Wonderful.”
Question: How could he be doing that well? How could he have such joy?
Answer: He found joy in God’s way: J-O-Y
Here’s what I learned from my dad about how to have JOY:
Unanswered prayer can be frustrating, I agree. Carolyn and I have prayed for years about things that have never happened. Sometimes we feel like “what’s the use.” But we keep on asking, since what we request seems so reasonable and important.
Do you ever feel that way? Of course you do. Unless you don’t pray at all!
Years ago, I heard an answer to the question of unanswered prayer that made a lot of sense to me. It was that God always answers prayers, He just doesn’t always do what we want Him to do.
Here’s why unanswered prayer is a misnomer and in fact God always answers our prayers in one of four ways:
Sometimes the seemingly unanswered prayer is indeed answered and the answer is “no.”
Of course, the problem is that we don’t want to take “no” for an answer! This is especially true when what we request makes all kinds of sense to us.
We think “How could this be? God, what are you thinking?” As if we could outthink God!
The great American theologian Garth Brooks (actually a famous country music singer) sang a wonderful song titled “Unanswered Prayers.”
Failure, even repeated failures, can serve as finger posts on the road to achievement. One can fail forward toward success as C. S. Lewis states in this quote. Failure is NOT our aim, but if it comes, we must count it as a “finger post” on the road to success.
This post is co-written by Mark Alan Williams and Beth Harris. Beth is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.
What is a “finger post?” Google says it is “a post at a road junction from which signs project in the direction of the place or route indicated.”
When we experience a failure, we know the direction NOT to head in! So, we go the other way. Hopefully it is the way of success.
Sometimes it is only after we have experienced failure and repeated failures that we achieve success.
We may think, if only I could have, should have, or would have done things differently. I could have avoided a lot of pain and suffering. That might be true and it may be difficult to see anything positive in our failures. But at least they showed us which direction not to head in.
You might ask, “But, how would C. S. Lewis know anything about repeated failures?”
Every country thankfully remembers those who battled for their freedom and protection. In the USA, we celebrate Memorial Day to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. We are deeply grateful for their sacrifice. As Christians, we should do something similar regarding those who died for our faith. We should remember those who “Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12a ESV)
Fighting isn’t fun. By nature, I’m not a fighter. Most people aren’t. Most prefer peace and harmony. But while standing up for truth isn’t easy, it’s vitally important. We are to “fight the good fight of the faith.”
But what does that mean?
Here’s what I found when I studied how we’re to “fight the good fight of the faith.”
1. Christians are to live in peace, but peace is not always attainable.
it could be that your level of praise is at an all time low.
Is your level of complaining at an all time high? Do you know anyone who is always complaining? Complaining can be very tiresome and you may find yourself avoiding chronic complainers. Perhaps, we are the ones that others are sidestepping. Could the reason be, as the author of this quote suggests, that our praise is at an all time low?
This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.
It is good and biblical to express our true feelings to God.
The Bible is full of expressions of feeling. Psalm 62:8 says: “…pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (NIV)
It is also healthy, normal and necessary to grieve and express sorrow as a means of processing our feelings and finding healing.