Addressing God’s ministry in the May 20, 2006, Pastor General’s Report, Pastor General Gerald Flurry wrote, “We all have carnal nature and must continually ask God to bring His Holy Spirit into our lives and show us where we are wrong. We all need to open ourselves up to God’s correction and humble ourselves before the Father the way our Savior does.”
This, brethren, is an inspiring message: the fact that we must use the energy of God’s Holy Spirit in order to love correction. If we’re truly honest, we would admit that receiving correction in the right attitude is one of life’s most difficult responsibilities.
Each of us has the opportunity to grow in this area when you consider that correction and reproof keep us on the path to eternal life. Proverbs 10:17 states: “He who heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof goes astray” (Revised Standard Version). Therefore, it is vital to grow in our love for godly correction.
Psalm 51 is a wonderful psalm to study. In it, King David pleads his case to God. David knew he needed to be washed and cleansed by God through correction and reproof—and even humbled through chastisement. This is probably one of the reasons God called David “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22).
Just like King David and other great men mentioned in the Holy Bible, God’s end-time Apostle Herbert W. Armstrong also came to understand the importance of appreciating godly correction. Notice what he wrote concerning this subject in Mystery of the Ages. In 1927, he came to realize that he “had been part of this world. I did not realize, then, that this was not God’s world but Satan’s. I came to realize that accepting God’s truth meant being called out of this world—forsaking this world and its ways, and even to a great extent my friends and associates in this world. Giving up this world, its ways, interests, pleasures, was like dying. And I didn’t want to die. I think one of the greatest tests that everyone whom God has called faces, is giving up this world and being part of it. But now I knew that this world’s way was wrong! I knew its ultimate penalty was death. But I didn’t want to die now! It was truly a battle for life—a life and death struggle. In the end, I lost that battle, as I had been losing all worldly battles in recent years. In final desperation, I threw myself on His mercy. If He could use my life, I would give it to Him—not in a physical suicide, but as a living sacrifice, to use as He willed. It was worth nothing to me any longer. I considered that I was only a worthless piece of human junk not worthy to be cast on the junk pile.”
Is this your approach to correction? Do you love it and see its benefits? If so, you will grow spiritually as a “living sacrifice” and become a useful instrument in God’s hands.
Mr. Flurry has taught us that both he and Mr. Armstrong are “teachers of righteousness”—and the elect members of God’s Church are in training to become leaders and teachers as well as king-priests. To be an effective leader and teacher, you and I must administer correction at times. This means that we must be humble and correctable ourselves, for how can we give correction if we are unwilling to receive it?
Proverbs 3:11-12 instructs us to not despise the chastening of the Eternal nor be weary of His correction, but to rather realize that it is actually love from our heavenly Father. In Proverbs 15:10, God gives us a real warning: Hating correction leads to eternal death. “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.”
Of course, correction comes to us in many forms and in many different ways.
Remember God’s love to us (and to the Laodiceans) revealed by the “little book”—Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today. That precious book contains seven powerful and corrective “thunders” from the Eternal. What loving correction from God!
Re-study Malachi’s Message if you haven’t done so lately. You’ll see that it is a message of love and correction—“thunderous love”—which leads us back to the path of eternal life. Yet many have rejected Malachi’s Message, and have even ridiculed it. Little do they know that they have, in fact, rejected God’s love!
The most difficult thing for any human being is to admit error and then to change. The carnal mind excuses misdeeds, justifies itself, seeks a way out. Naturally, men don’t like to be corrected and admit mistakes. But failing to love correction can create big problems for us. The repentant, converted mind will admit error and love correction.
What is one of the best forms of godly correction, a form we ought to love? Why, the study of the Holy Bible! Notice: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The word correction in this verse is translated from a Greek word used only once in the New Testament. It means “a straightening up again,” a “rectification” (reformation), or a “restoration to an upright or right state.”
As God’s sons and future king-priests, we must grasp the importance of this verse and apply it. We ought to study to show ourselves approved unto God by being correctable. As Mr. Flurry wrote in the May 20 pgr, we need to truly “open ourselves up” to God’s loving correction. If we do, we’ll become spiritually mature—“perfect”—and thoroughly “furnished unto all good works” (verse 17).
Never forget the words of “that prophet”—it is God’s Holy Spirit that gives us the power to see our lives the way God does, and that shows us where we are wrong. It is the mind of God which will aid us in loving correction.
If you learn to love correction, you’ll be ready always to say, I don’t know, if it be so. You will be ready, always, to admit error when it is pointed out to you, to confess wrong and to change to what is right, wherever you are wrong. You will be ready to accept correction and reproof, and to act upon it, no matter how humiliating or painful. You will diligently study to learn the right way and to live it, and you will study the Bible to find it. You will face every trial or obstacle that comes along unafraid, in the full faith of God, looking to Him for wisdom and knowing that He will guide you and deliver you out of it.
Let us all be corrected by our thinking on these things.