Proverbs 3:1-10, “1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments. 2 For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
- In verses 1-10 we see a pattern of instructions with phrases like, “Do not, do not, do not” and for each one there is a result like verse 1, “We will find long life and peace.” In verse 3, “We will find favor.”
- In verse 5, “Our paths will be straight. In verse 7, “Our bones will find rest,” and, verse 9, “We will have more money than we can imagine” so that verses 1-10 it can kind of read like, “If we read the Scriptures and obey the Scriptures” then life will be great, spouse is beautiful, house is too big, and make a lot of money
At first glance it can sound like if we just do these things in life, verses 1-10, but, look at verses 11 and 12.
Proverbs 3:11-12, “11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, 12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
Verse 11 reads, “Do not reject the ‘discipline of the Lord’”? Where did that come from? In verses 1-10 it sounds like list of guiding principles in life to avoid “discipline of the Lord.” I thought “discipline of the Lord” was for those people who didn’t follow verses 1-10?
In verses 11 and 12 the author reminds us that even though we, “listen to the Lord, obey the Lord, and sincerely submit ourselves to the Lord” we will still see “discipline in the Lord.”
But, we need vs. 11-12 to remind us, “Do not reject the discipline of the Lord” because the phrase “discipline of the Lord” in the original language means, “instruction or training to help us grow and mature.”
Discipline of the Lord simply means instruction or training to help us grow and mature.
When the Lord brings “instruction and training” into our lives it isn’t because He is trying to be mean, or He fell asleep and missed something. It just means He is working in our lives to help us grow and mature. Lets identify three primary ways the Lord brings training and instruction into our lives to help us grow and mature:
- First, is through His Word. God’s Word is powerful, and every day we can get into God’s Word and be reminded of who He and who we are in Him, it is going to help us receive His “instruction and training” in our lives.
- Second, is through our circumstances. Things are going to break, surprises are going to happen, and hiccups are going to come, and in those circumstances we want to ask the Lord to help us remember the Lord is with us in those moments.
- Third, are our relationships with one another. As a church family we have the opportunity to bring “instruction and training” into our relationships with one another to help us grow and mature.
But, before we finish we need to remember the importance of the gospel. Every other spiritual leader in human history will tell you, “These are the steps to make so you mature.”
If you do these things, if you pray this many times, if you visit this holy land, if you do these religious rites, and if you can do enough of those things for a long enough time, then you might get a chance to taste of maturity.
Even our Yearly Rhythms could give the illusion of maturity, and if you just work your 2020 year plan you will arrive at maturity, but these plans aren’t our hope. Jesus is our hope. Do you know why?
It is because Jesus comes to make you mature, by grace through faith in Him, we are made right, we are made clean, we are made just, we are made perfect, and it is who we are in Christ!
This is the gospel! This is the good news! Jesus, God in the flesh, has come near to our immaturity and He wraps His arms around us, and takes our immaturity upon Himself, puts our immaturity to death at the cross, conquers our immaturity in the resurrection, and gives us His righteousness, His maturity.
Do we forget? Yes. Do we wonder? Yes. Do we sometimes stumble into that immaturity? Yes. But, in Christ, that’s not who we are any longer, the old has been put to death, new life has come, so like a loving Father He draws near to bring “instruction and training” into our lives, so that we might enjoy all that we have been given.