God Our Trainer

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 3.43.40 PMMany of us fear correction from God because we lack understanding of His ways. 

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the training and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Ephesians 4:18

Notice above, God’s appeal to parents. When it comes to adjusting a child’s bad behavior, the Father says to “bring them up with training”. Not beating, shaming, or threatening. But training. This is God’s way. He is a Trainer at heart. And He wants you to be a trainer as well—especially to those entrusted to your care.

Many of us fear correction from God—we see it as a scary or negative thing.

I believe this fear comes from a faulty view of God. We envision God as an angry, all-powerful being up there, with smoke blowing out of his ears. We screw-up and do something wrong, He’s like some massive spirit-being awoken from his slumber— straight-up Temple of Doom style—there to lay the smack down. 

Even Christians who know better can still struggle to shake this feeling that God is angry, and always mad at them. It’s one thing to know in your head that Jesus has forgiven you. It’s a whole other thing to have this revelation sink down into your heart.

In fact, that’s why the Apostle Paul was always praying for his churches to “really come to know” and “experience for themselves” the love of God in Christ. (Ephesians 3) And that all believers would know what they have in Jesus. (Ephesians 1)

Training: God’s Style of Correction

Let me ask you something: is it shocking for a fitness trainer to show their clients what they’re doing wrong?

Of course not! When we hire a trainer of any kind— whether fitness, business, or life coach— we expect them to reveal our shortcomings. We obviously sought someone out because we know we have some things to change. So all training involves correction, right?

But here’s the thing: a good trainer has a way of helping us change—redirecting and reshaping our behavior— without losing their connection with us. They can offer criticism without breaking trust and discipline without causing us to lose heart.

Think about a great football coach. He builds a bond with his players. Can you imagine a head coach who doesn’t train his players— he just sits passively on the sidelines, rolling his eyes at them, taking potshots at the running-back, pestering the quarterback to throw better, then walks off the field shaking his head when they screw up.

No! A good coach creates an environment for growth. He doesn’t walk away the first time the players make a mistake. If all the players had it all figured out, they wouldn’t need a coach! That’s the whole point of hiring a coach.

A coach is there to help them get it right, not to prove to them how bad they are.

This is God’s heart towards his spiritual children: He wants us to get it right. He’s not there to prove to us we’re terrible. I mean, if He wanted to prove that, He could of just left us to our own devices. He wouldn’t have to mess with us at all.

But God is for us! And He wants to shape us and mold us into His image. Is there correction? Of course, there is. We show up to the field with an attitude, then God is gonna deal with it. We make a mistake, He will guide us to the right path. But when we mess up— even when we mess up big— He never breaks connection with us. He never withdraws His love. In fact,  when we make a mistake, He draws us even closer, like a loving and gentle father, and He says:

“Ok, my man. That’s not how it’s done. We’re going to do it again, okay?”

And God won’t give up on us until we get it right. That’s what training is all about. That’s what a trainer is for. He’s there to help us succeed.

 

Say these five confessions out loud:

1. God is my Trainer.

2. Because of Jesus, God is not mad at me.

3. God is not ashamed of me. He is not fed up with me.

4. God is patient. He is a loving Father to me.

5. God is training me. He is helping me to grow daily!

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