16 May 2008

Discipline, Conviction and Guilt Glands

I am a fool. I have it on good authority. I am a fool because I hate discipline. Proverbs 25:28 says {Like} a city that is broken into {and} without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit. In fact, the Bible has a lot to say about those of us who try to make it through life without discipline. I am not talking about the sort of discipline that is a consequence given to us, I am talking about the self-control, setting up good habits type of discipline.

I really enjoy reading the Proverbs. They convict me, but somehow it hurts so good to see what a wretch I am. Probably because they don't just leave you there in your wretchedness. They tell you the alternative. This caught my attention tonight. Proverbs 23:12 Apply your heart to discipline, and your ears to words of knowledge. I decided to look for other verses in Proverbs that go with that. I ended up picking these and then topped off my conviction tank with some words from James.

Proverbs 2:2-6
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding;
4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth {come} knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 5:1-2
1 My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding;
2 That you may observe discretion, and your lips may reserve knowledge.

Proverbs 22:17-19
17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge;
18 For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you.

Proverbs 23:19
19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.

James 1:21-22
21 Therefore putting aside all filthiness and {all} that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Oh yeah, the conviction is huge. That's good though. I want to be convicted, the alternative would mean I was indifferent to the things of God. I don't want to be indifferent. I want to be held in the tension between knowing my guilt and knowing I've been forgiven- declared righteous. This is where His grace becomes amazing to me. This is where I find holiness in the minute details of life. The tension that comes from living in a fallen world as an alien... only passing through on my way to being perfected by Him. Discipline. It requires effort. It isn't merely a surrender to refinement. It is active. It gathers wisdom, employs truth, answers folly and keeps listening, keeps seeking Him.

This is my prayer tonight. Teach me, Lord to number my days that I may present you with a heart of wisdom. Teach me to listen to godly counsel and to accept discipline. Let me live and walk by the Spirit and by doing so, bear the fruit of the Spirit. Build in me godly discipline and self control and make me ready to be your tool.

Psalm 90:12
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.
Prov 19:20
20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.
Galatians 5:22-25
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

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