By Stephen Phinney

Being reproved by God is not a pleasant thing to be forced to embrace. In Job 37, we learn that whether for correction sake, for God to prove He is our God, or for the Divine purpose of love – it is He -- who “causes it to happen.” Knowing that, our eyes will hopefully look to Truth. Since God is the One who chooses to reprove us in His way and in His timing, we need to allow these circumstances to weaken us instead of taking on these afflictions like they are some kind of challenge. If we don’t fall to our knees in weakness and brokenness, our hearts will turn harder than a heart attack. Why? Because we have refused to REPENT and allow God to change our ways.

The 10 most obvious signs of reproof:

  1. Being in situations where you “think” you have to borrow money in order to survive. God knows that we are not to turn those away who come to us to borrow; but in the same breath He tells us not to borrow. What that means is that God understands the way poverty stricken people think. He also knows they will come to us for help by way of “short-term debts.” That does NOT mean that God places approval on short or long-term debts. What it does mean is that He does not want us to turn away from those people who “think” they need to borrow to survive. When you are the poverty stricken one in need with the big boat in the garage, He knows a reproof is in line.
  2. Overdue bills: There are two types of overdue bills. The first is the most innocent; those who have bills due that are not a result of debt spending (like rent, utilities, etc.). The second kind of “overdue bills” is a result of debt mentality. Those kinds of overdue bills God is not quick to send a “miraculous provider” to bail you. He can, but He usually allows the debt to become our tutor to quicken our hearts to detest additional debt.
  3. Grandiose thinking: Proverbs 28:22 (NASB) says: “A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth and does not know that want will come upon him.” A tall tale sign that you are about to be reproved by God is that you are suffering with a mind that runs after wealth. If you want to challenge the hand of God, set your eye upon being wealthy and you will quickly see the other side of God’s hand. It doesn’t matter if the Christian is emergent (God doesn’t want me unhappy) in their thinking, this WILL provoke the hand of God.
  4. Insomnia: Have you ever noticed how well you sleep when you have earned the bread on your table? I sure have – it feels great. Solomon was a very wise man, BUT he didn’t always work for a living. Most of it was handed to him on a silver tray. After too many years of this kind of “want not,” he came to this conclusion: “The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep” (Ecc 5:12. NASB). I have a feeling Solomon had a bunch of sleepless nights.
  5. Unexpected and planned losses: Those of us who look for much, oftentimes end up with little. Have you ever worked tirelessly for something and in just a few short moments it’s gone – blown into the wind? My counseling career is filled with such stories; people who just can’t figure out why God would take away all that a man has spent his life working for. I have the unfortunate experience of helping them embrace the truth of Haggai 1:9 (NASB): “You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?" declares the LORD of hosts, "Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.” Anytime man puts an emphasis on taking care of his own house before the house of God, well – you had better “buckle up,” the wind is about to blow.
  6. Can’t enjoy what you have: When you are on the side of the fence that has brown grass, at least you think, it is easy to judge the ones on the “greener” side as having no excuse to “enjoy all of life.” The truth being, most wealthy people don’t enjoy what they have because they are always looking to more of what they don’t have or an upgrade of what they do. This is a trap of Satan himself. This trap is so deceptive; most will create more debt to maintain this vicious cycle of doom. I say, let them have the green grass; it’s usually artificial turf anyway. Being content with what we have, or don’t have, is the key to turning the soil on your side of the fence to produce a true produce of Life, a life that will sustain itself in the harshest times of affliction. This all starts by being content with your present wages! “And he said to them, ‘Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages’ " (Luke 3:14, NASB).
  7. Being spiritually empty: Any soul that cares for the world and it’s riches more than replenishing the heart with the Word, will choke off the Word of God in their lives and actually become unfruitful in all their ways (Matt. 13:22). A sad state of a man is when I am sharing the power of God’s Word with him and the whole time, he has this look in his eyes like he didn’t hear a word I was saying. Immediately after this Holy Spirit moment, he brings up something completely worldly. Hummm – dry bones.
  8. Suffering from unnecessary family pressure: He that is greedy for more gain, money, influence, or power brings hardship and trouble upon his own house (Proverbs 15:27). This is true in almost every financial bondage case I have ever assisted in. Families are the first to go when a greedy heart demands to be filled. Women react to these “heads of home” by forsaking the home for that “special someone” who will “listen to them.” All the while, these “heads of home” are gaining affection from women who are desperate for affection. Yes, my dear reader, money and immorality do go together.
  9. Money strikes back like the head of a snake: Money has a funny way of paying for more than the bills. If you have too little of it, it will stress you to the point of physical exhaustion in finding ways to get it. If you have too much of it, people stress over worrying about how you’re going to keep it. Money and health problems go hand in hand. Ecclesiastes 5:13 (from NASB) says: “There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt.” It is no wonder that the most significant principle of God’s miraculous plan of economy is keeping the flow of money moving. Scriptures show us that if it stands still too long, it will devour us.
  10. Legal problems: Have you ever met someone who has money, or strives tirelessly to get it, who DOESN’T have legal problems? I know of very few. Most money hungry people are either suing someone for more cash or are being sued because they have too much of it.
“So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren” (1 Corinthians 6:4-8, NASB).

Each of us need to stand on the shores of REALITY, face the pain, and accept the discipline of the Lord. People tend to make the word “reproof” more than what it is. Reproof from the Hebrew is a simple word picture, which is “re-proof” (revisiting the proof of Truth until it is embraced). That is the goal, objective, and purpose of God allowing the Ten Most Obvious Signs of Reproof.

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