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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

The Rough, the Smooth: Day 3

The rough, the smooth…

In the United States and Britain they are called “snowflakes;” in China they are referred to as “strawberries.” Both refer to a generation, in their late teens and twenties, who are “too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own…coupled with a strong sense of entitlement.”

Most experts agree that this new breed is the product of a parenting style that emphasizes self-esteem and promotes an artificial equality instead of encouraging opportunities for growth. If a child has parents who follow this philosophy and possess the means to enact it, a child can get pretty far down life’s road without ever experiencing a serious bump or pothole on their life’s journey. And, if they should, the parents will be there to finance a detour around the bump or construct a bridge over the pothole. (In China, these are known as hothouse parents.) What the future holds for a world led by snowflakes and strawberries is yet to be discovered. However, the Bible makes it plain that God grows His people through challenge and discipline.

Pleasant? No. Painful? Often. As Hebrews 12:11 (below) verifies, even the promised rewards of growth, righteousness and peace will be experienced “later on.” And when is that? Next week, next year or in eternity.

Everybody likes the smooth. We like being agreed with, being affirmed and being in our comfort zone. We like it when good things come our way without a whole lot of effort. However, the adults in any room will affirm that nothing much is learned in the good times. It is in the tough times when our pathway is rough and challenging, that we have grown spiritually.

God loves spiritual growth. It is what He is always working to produce in our lives. He calls this type of growth sanctification and its goal is to make us more like His Son.

Of course, we may, like the snowflakes, decide to play by our own rules. But that is very much like deciding that we are going to gather daisies at an Easter egg hunt. It might be fun at the time, but in the end, you don’t have anything that counts to show for your participation.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it  (Hebrews 12:11).

Nancy Shirah

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