Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
Wisdom is available to everyone, but not all have it. There is something very powerful that precludes the vast majority of people from knowing and receiving the wisdom that comes from above. The major obstacle is pride. We always think that our decisions are correct and therefore we would not need the opinion that others might have about them. Even if we are not sure of the decision we make, once it is made it will be our decision and we will not accept criticism from anyone, even if it is clear that we were wrong. In the latter case, our pride is expressed even more strongly as we do not like to admit we made a mistake or having someone pointing out our weaknesses.
The path to wisdom necessarily involves humility. We need humility to acknowledge our mistakes, our shortcomings, our flaws, our shortages and our weaknesses. God wants us to trust him and to let ourselves be guided by his loving hand, but if we think we are self-sufficient and we know every trick in the book we are not going to depend on God until we find ourselves up to our necks in trouble and then perhaps it will be too late. Do you want wisdom? Lower your guard and let yourself be guided by God. Obey his commandments, follow his instructions and do not depart from his side. Only so you will be able to receive true wisdom from above. Humility leads to wisdom and wisdom leads to humility.To God alone be the glory!
“If his sons forsake my law
and do not follow my statutes,
if they violate my decrees
and fail to keep my commands,
I will punish their sin with the rod,
their iniquity with flogging;
Laws, decrees, statutes and commandments, many try to justify themselves by saying that God’s demands regarding our conduct can not come from him since he is all love. The idea is that all the warnings that God gives us to prevent our misbehaving are invalid and spurious. This is only a cowardly escape from their responsibilities. The word of God is very clear about this: God disciplines his children when they do not meet his demands of holiness. And even if it were true that God does not punish us because He loves us we still have to deal for the rest of our lives with the consequences of sin. Make no mistake, God disciplines those he loves and although disciplinary punishments may seem painful and disproportionate, we are receiving exactly what we need to learn the lesson well. Can you imagine someone trying to make a beast of burden obey his commands using tenderness and sweet words? How, then, we think that God will deal with our stubborn sinful nature if not through a fair discipline?
God is love but he is also justice and truth. He can not overlook sin without providing a rebuke commensurate with the offense. As we often do not realize the mistakes we make, the gentle and loving discipline of our heavenly Father will remind us that we, as his children, must be holy as he is Holy. Let us receive, then, with joy the discipline that God imparts as this is an additional demonstration of the love he has for us. Let us view discipline as a loving and on time correction and not as an angry response to our bad behavior. Discipline is part of our education. We must understand that if our behavior is correct, we would not need discipline. Discipline is a proof that we are children of God. To God alone be the glory!
As a door turns on its hinges,
so a sluggard turns on his bed.
A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
than seven people who answer discreetly.
Laziness is a bad habit. Laziness is a vice that promises rest, but only ends up generating anxiety and trouble. The sluggard is deluding himself when he tries to justify his inaction. The lazy attitude of him upsets everybody because his tasks have to be assumed by others. The lazy do not understand or could care less that they hurt others with their laziness. The only thing he cares about is that doing nothing gives him pleasure. With all his selfishness, the sluggard neglects his health because he does not take care of himself due to his laziness. As we can see there is nothing good in laziness and yet many people exhibit this dangerous vice. The reason for this behavior is found in the sluggard thinks that he is wise. In his own mind he knows everything and does not need anyone to show him how to do things. This is why he does not seek the opinion of others and pays no attention if someone points out his vice.
The children of God, on the contrary should be diligent in everything they undertake. The Word of God exhorts us to be occupied with good works, always prepared, to persevere, to be disciplined, to be persistent in preaching the word, in time and out of time, to excel with the things of God, not to live idly, to take care of our own responsibilities, to work with our own hands, to make the most of every opportunity, to make further progress towards the goal, not to be tired of doing good and to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. If, after receiving all these admonitions we continue giving free rein to laziness we are facing a problem of rebellion, which if not corrected will require discipline from God. Need more warnings? To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, discipline, faith, God, Jesus, knowledge, laziness, Proverbs 26, righteousness, sluggard, wisdom
By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD,
and trouble came to Moses because of them;
for they rebelled against the Spirit of God,
and rash words came from Moses’ lips.
Oftentimes when things go wrong the responsibility for what happened lies with the leaders. No wonder, since those who are in leadership positions are granted more power and this implies a greater accountability for the outcomes of their decisions. A good leader knows what he is exposed to and when something does not go as expected he takes full responsibility for what happened. However, on rare occasions, the responsibility lies not with the leader but on the followers. In the case of the popular protest against Moses because the shortage of water in the desert, the level of gossip of the people was so strong and so repetitive that it made Moses, an extremely humble man, to loose his cool and he ended up acting stupid and rashly carrying out the instructions that God gave him. Moses could blame the people, in fact, God disciplined the people for this and many other instances of complaint and murmuring. Moses’ failure was a result of his rebellious spirit which considered that what God had ordered him to do was a nuisance for his life.
We all receive God’s direction but sometimes we believe that the way we resolve the issues is better than God’s way and we end up rebelling against him. The basis for rebellion is pride and disobedience and we know that none of these things is pleasing to the Lord. When God commands us to do something and we think that there is a better way to do it, we should immediately stop and analyze where we are failing and identify what we need to do to fulfill God’s instructions to the letter. Otherwise it is very likely that we will end up falling into the deep pit of error and sin. Let us heed the voice of God and let us allow his Holy Spirit to lead us into the path of righteousness. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged anger, Christianity, discipline, God, Holy Spirit, Moses, obedience, Psalms, rash, rebellion, sin, trouble, trust, wisdom, words
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.
Discipline is absolutely necessary for human life. Without discipline man would be completely stripped of all sense of order and justice. Without correction everybody could do whatever they please without being accountable to anyone and without fear of receiving any negative consequence that may arise from it. Without correction everybody would act without any other criteria than self-satisfaction regardless of how our behavior may affect others. We all know cases of spoiled children whose parents have failed to properly raise them and how embarrassing it is for them when their children misbehave, of course, only if these parents are left with some dignity. Many tears and sufferings are in store for those who do not raise their children with discipline.
When faced with discipline we can take three courses of action. One is to dismiss it as useless and as something we are not interested in and therefore it is only an inconvenience and an obstacle in our pursuit of pleasure. Another is to become discouraged because we do not get to learn and the next time we do something wrong God will discipline us again and we will grow weary. And another is to accept the discipline of our heavenly Father as something beneficial for us that will help us correct our steps and live a life pleasing in the eyes of God.
The apostle Paul told us that “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Which attitude will you have the next time God disciplines you? Will you reject it, get discouraged by it or welcome it? Do you understand the importance of correction for your life? Ignoring discipline will only produce the need for additional discipline until we learn to behave with justice and righteousness. Therefore, let us receive with joy the correction of our loving Father and let us improve everything we need to improve. We will be the first beneficiaries. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, correction, discipline, God, hate, Jesus, knowledge, life, love, Proverbs 12, righteousness, stupid, wisdom
I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.
Knowledge, justice, discipline, compassion, comfort, promise, compassion, life, law, joy, how many principles and values are placed together in these short lines of the Word of God! No wonder the very word speaks of itself and says that from it new and old treasures can be drawn. The life of a child of God is not a simple life. The life of a child of God has many angles and activities that we need to learn and practice. Our relationship with God is not based only on reading his word, offering prayers to him and trusting in his promises. Nor is it only to serve, to evangelize, to help others, to be baptized or to partake of the Lord’s Supper. The life of a child of God is the sum of all these things and many more. With so many things to do with our life, how do we know what to do or how to act in certain circumstances? The key is precisely the quality of our relationship with God.
If we maintain a healthy, close and constant relationship with God, all we “have” to do will be easy to understand and to carry out. I put the word have in quotes because the things of God are not an obligation or a burden as such. Someone asked the Lord Jesus: “What must we do to do the works God requires?” The Lord replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Also the Lord Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The work of God is not heavy; the work of God is not complicated. The work of God is easy to perform as long as we depend on him and not on our own strength and abilities. Let’s seek support in our Lord and everything will move as the Lord wills, the right way. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, comfort, compassion, discipline, faith, God, hope, Jesus, joy, justice, knowledge, law, life, love, promise, Psalms, righteousness, spirituality, wisdom
Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
If error did not exist, correction and advice would not be required. Nobody is born learned and everybody’s lives are a constant learning process. Only a fool would say that he no longer has anything to learn. A phrase generally attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt says: “You have to learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” The experience of others, transmitted through advice or a word of rebuke is very valuable for us to avoid repeating the same mistakes others have made. It is our pride that prevents corrections and the advice given to us from being transformed into useful lessons to increase our knowledge and wisdom. In fact, pride leads us into folly, because only a fool would think to ignore a wise teaching. The word of God tells us: “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” and Scripture also reminds us that: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”
Let us not act with pride when we are corrected or receive advice, thinking that we know everything and that there is nothing else we need to know. Let us listen carefully to what we are being told and let us analyze where we were wrong and how we can use correction to improve our behavior and performance. To do otherwise will only sink us further into our own mistakes and will prevent us from progressing towards spiritual maturity; we will certainly be trapped into our own folly. Augustine said: “To err is human; to persevere in error is diabolical.” Let us seize correction and advice so that instead of doing what pleases our enemy, we can truly do what pleases God. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged accept, advice, Christianity, correction, discipline, faith, God, hope, Jesus, justice, life, listen, love, peace, Proverbs 19, righteousness, spirituality, wisdom
If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God have discovered it,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
Sometimes the plan of God is manifested at the national level and corrective disciplines and trials to correct deviations cover several generations of the same people. The people of Israel, the apple of the eyes of God, have been through this situation many times. Also the church of Christ, his bride, has had to deal with situations of persecution or rejection by powerful groups that make things more difficult for the faithful. Some people want to discredit the Judeo-Christian God accusing him of being cruel and a chastiser. When attempting to describe God, they speak only of the aspect of justice which requires that sin be dealt with discipline. They forget that every action brings its consequences, both good and bad. They forget also that along with justice there is the other side to the coin which is love and that God has kept alive an entire nation that has been scattered across the world much of its existence. Empires, peoples and civilizations have disappeared completely from the face of the earth but the people of Israel have remained. God’s church has also been attacked from within and from outside by many opponents and yet it has remained standing through the centuries.
Today, some nations that once were thriving are on their way to oblivion because of the widespread presence of various pests such as authoritarianism, communism, idolatry and corruption. Many will blame God for what is happening to these people, but the truth is that, in fairness, the faults committed by them collectively as a nation have brought disastrous consequences for themselves. The kingdom of God has nothing to do with the kingdom of darkness and the different states of the world, democracies, monarchies and dictatorships; they all belong to the world system that by definition precludes the establishment of the kingdom of God, even when they have taken this purpose as a flag to justify their outrages and abuses. Take away your eyes from the world and its corruption and raise your gaze upon Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, the only one where justice and love come together and are integrated to bring real life, liberty, security and eternal welfare to all who believe in him. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged death, discipline, God, hope, Jesus, justice, life, love, Psalms, salvation, sin, trials
Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge.
Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
Punish them with the rod
and save them from death.
Oftentimes we find it very difficult to understand one of the tools that allow us some control over our behavior or that of others, mainly because we have a sinful nature that vigorously resists it. We are talking about discipline. No one likes discipline, neither to receive it nor to apply it. When we have to receive it, we focus on the negative side of it, that is, the pain inflicted on us but we ignore the benefits it produces once we have learned its lesson. When it comes to applying it, oftentimes we do it to vent to our anger rather than for the benefit it produces in those whom we are disciplining, usually our children. Whatever the case, we are too clumsy to understand it and accept it. It is even harder for us to apply it with wisdom. The key to understanding discipline is that it must always be accompanied with love for it to be effective. If love is not present when discipline is received there will be grumbling and resentment. If love is not present when discipline is applied, it becomes mere violence and aggression.
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews explains: “They [our fathers] disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” King Solomon himself said it this way: “because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Whether we are under discipline or we are to receive it, let us understand its loving purpose and let us look ahead with hope to the harvest of righteousness and peace it will bring upon us. To God alone be the glory!
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
It is true that our parents were not too skilled when applying discipline to us, but for sure they were full of good intentions and love. It is also true that sometimes they were a little severe and a tad violent when using the rod but everything was done so we could learn how to behave and so we could avoid getting ourselves into trouble later in our lives. They made mistakes ─just as we do now─ by letting them be carried away by their emotions and not by reason when trying to correct our misbehaviors. All in all, we are living proof that opportune discipline, applied in proportionality to the fault, brought much good to our lives. Of course, it was not until we became parents ourselves and had to deal with those little, rotten, spoiled, manipulative, hyperactive and tireless creatures that we call our children, that we realized the logic of many things related to discipline. (Just kidding, children are a great blessing.)
What we need to understand now that we have grown up, is that we still need correction and discipline in order for us to reach the perfection that our Heavenly Father demands of us, His children. It is His turn to correct and discipline us with love, truth and justice, “for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” and to produce “a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” as the author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote. Let us march forward with renewed energy because God Himself is correcting and taking care of us in a perfect way. Only to God be the glory!