Most people know what I’m talking about when I say growing up has its challenges.
Do you agree?
And many people (especially baby boomers) can remember those seven terrifying words which struck fear into the heart of every kid; words only a frustrated and frazzled mother could say.
“Just wait until your father gets home!”
I heard it so much as a kid, I always knew when I was about to hear it again. Moms seem to develop that certain kind of look when they’re about ready to lower the boom.
No, I didn’t need to have the gift of prophecy or any special anointing to know when judgment was soon to come. The “look” let me know I was in a heap of trouble.
I can still hear the sound of my dad’s car, as he pulled up to the house. The brakes on his 1958 Ford station wagon screeched when he was just about to stop completely, and I knew…
I knew judgment was about to be meted out.
Funny, but I can’t remember much of what took place afterwards; I was so consumed by the thought, “Dad’s coming home, and he’s not gonna be happy.”
Whew. Thank God I finally outgrew that. I finally grew up and became a responsible adult; never more to hear “just wait until your father gets home.”
Uh, sorry. But that’s not right.
I’m hearing it these days, as well.
Only this time it’s not something my mom is telling me. It’s a word I’m hearing from the Spirit of God.
A word Peter talked about in his first letter.
“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now if the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17 – 4:18 NKJV)
In other words, “Just wait until your father gets home.”
Why would judgment begin at the house of God? I mean, I thought Jesus took our judgment when He died on the cross?
He did. And it’s through faith in His substitutionary act that we are born again into the family of God.
That’s when we become one of the Father’s kids.
It would be wonderful if all of God’s kids were perfect, but we’re not.
No, I’m not about to try and list all the ways God’s kids have frustrated and grieved the Holy Spirit, but I will share what I believe to be one of the biggest.
Again, I’ll let Peter tell it.
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” (1 Peter 4:12 – 4:16 NKJV)
Compromise because we don’t like trials, or being misunderstood, or reproached for the Name of Christ.
And although we’ve found ways to get around suffering for Jesus (especially in America), it has cost us dearly.
It has cost us something the early church had; something which empowered them to turn their world upside down.
Glory. Something beyond the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The Glory of God.
Did you notice what Peter said, just prior to his “Dad’s got something to say” word?
“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.”
What things have we used to get around suffering?
Here are a few:
We’ve expected society to think and act like us, and since it doesn’t want to, we’ve started acting more like it.
We apologize for using the J word; or we simply leave it at home; even though there’s “no other Name given among men whereby we must be saved.”
We’ve become theatrical in our gospel presentation. That in itself isn’t necessarily wrong, but I think there’s a difference between packaging something and hiding something.
If our gospel is hidden, it’s hidden from those who are lost.
If we can’t use plain language, relying upon the Spirit of God for boldness, power, and results, maybe we’re not really sure about the message.
Anyway, those are some things I’ve noticed about myself, and the church in general.
And I can hear the Spirit say, “Just wait until your Father gets home.”
But you know what? Paul told us of a way to avoid the Father’s judgment. And I believe it’s why the Spirit is prompting me to write this post.
“For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:31 – 11:32 NKJV)
Judge ourselves. Correct our behavior BEFORE Father gets home.
In other words, let’s not wait for our Father to get home, let’s do what He says, even if it could mean persecution.
God’s Glory rests upon those who aren’t ashamed of the gospel.
And God’s Glory changes lives.