Isaiah 57:15,16 For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit
of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. I will not
accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man
would grow faint before me— the breath of man that I have created.
When people gain positions of power, wealth, or popularity they often will
gather around themselves celebrities, the proud, popular and strong. But
God who is high and lofty prefers to associate himself with the lowly and
those who repent of sin. We see this particularly of Jesus Christ. God
prefers to live with those who are genuine and who seek to be right with
God - those who take heed to what he says. The proud don't listen to accusations
God makes against them. But the contrite respond and their spirit grows
faint when rebuked. But as a father God revives the spirit, not of the
proud, but of the humble and contrite for their benefit. This is also a
lesson for fathers:
Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not
exasperate your children; instead,
bring them up in the training and instruction
of the Lord.
Col 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter
your children, or they will become discouraged.
An overbearing legalist can make the pursuit of holiness appear hopeless.
Children can become embittered, discouraged, reactionary and so stop pursuing
holiness. But realize that the other extreme is also true. In the hedonistic
and apathetic society in which we live children may be left with the "freedom"
to raise themselves with their fathers exercising little instruction or
discipline. Such children will not pursue holiness not because they feel
it's unattainable, but because it is not valued and reckoned unnecessary
to achieving their personal happiness in their pursuit of pleasure. The
hope of the parent should not to be to instill a sense of pride and confidence,
but more importantly a sense of humility and contriteness. Too many bumper
stickers - "Proud to be an American" - and not enough - "Humble
to be a Christian"; too many "Christians are not perfect, just forgiven"
- and not enough - "Christians are in the process of pursuing holiness".