Being reproved or rebuked is tough stuff. Nobody enjoys it. To be willing to have others speak into your life is one of the high marks of Christian maturity.
You may want to read:
- Mind Mapping Christian Maturity
- What Is Christian Maturity?
- Four Essentials that Authenticate Your Christianity
Rebuke-able people typically have humble and wise perspectives about themselves. They are rebuke-able because the gospel has rightly informed them. (See Romans 3:10-12, 23, 5:12; Isaiah 64:6; 1Timothy 1:15)
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. – Romans 3:10-12
Being informed by the gospel means you were in a helpless and worthless condition before the Lord chose to save you. You were dead in your sins, hell-bound, and outside of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:1-10). You lived alienated from the life that could be found in God (Ephesians 4:18). This condition was the Lord’s view of you before salvation.
There is nothing anyone could say to you that is worse than what the Lord has previously declared about you. Understanding this aspect of the gospel releases you from the fear of what others can say about or do to you.
Couple this gospel truth of what you were to who you are in Christ, most assuredly you have nothing to protect or nothing to hide (Romans 8:31-39). If you have been born again (John 3:7; Romans 10:9, 13), you are a child of the King, a person who has gone from the worst possible position a person could be to the best possible place a person will ever enjoy.
If you are not living daily in this gospel truth, temptation from your insecurity will motivate you to protect and defend your reputation before others. That kind of pride will truncate the effectiveness in which your friends can speak into your life, a soul-stunting posture before the Lord and others.
- Can you be rebuked? Can you receive the corrective observations of others?
- When someone reproves you, how do you initially respond?
- When reproved, are you more focused on the person who said it and how they said it, or how you can humbly respond to what was said?
- Do you pursue the reproving care of your friends?
- Are you tempted to sulk or go into self-pity mode after someone reproves you?
- Do you express gratitude to those who love you enough to bring correction into your life?
Four Progressive Keys
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for (1) teaching, for (2) reproof, for (3) correction, and (4) for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
While the gospel is the good news, its message implies there is terrible news. If there were no bad news, you would not need the good news. The same is true in Paul’s sequential keys to Christian maturity that he laid out for his friend Timothy.
Teaching brings reproof, which is supposed to knock you off your feet. That is the bad news. Thankfully, the Spirit of God would never leave you down and out (Psalm 23:3). He is a healer who binds our wounds (Psalm 147:3). A careful and accurate rebuke from the Lord paves the way for Him to implement His corrective measures. The word “corrected” means to be stood up or made erect.
Four Steps to Christian Maturity
It’s crucial for you to know the Lord wants to correct you. God is a fixer. He does not rebuke you because He enjoys bringing pain into your life. There is always a redemptive purpose to His corrections. If you do not believe this, you will be tentative about receiving His reproof (Hebrews 12:6).
Some will argue how they don’t mind being rebuked by God, but it is the correction of sinful people that rubs them the wrong way. This reality is a problem for sure. It would be great if we all gave all reproof in perfect ways, but that is not possible among fallen people. Imperfect people reproving imperfect people will have an element of imperfection in it.
Though there is a lot to say about wrongful rebukes, the point of this article is whether you are mature enough and hungry enough to find “the Lord’s rebuke” even through imperfect vessels. Can you learn anything from a poorly given rebuke? You can if your goal is Christian maturity. Maybe later you can help the person who rebuked you poorly.
- Are you more likely to focus on the reproof or the correction? (The former is a tendency to be proud, while the latter is a tendency to be humble.)
- Are you more preoccupied with arguing with the rebuker or how to mature in your sanctification for God’s glory?
- Do you believe you need others to help you walk through sanctification issues?
- Do you enlist the help of your friends so you can change?
- Do you believe others need you so you can help them walk through their sanctification issues?
- Would you say your commitment to change is more significant than your commitment to your reputation?