Quick Thoughts: The Discipline of God

​The discipline of both God and parents must include more than instruction. Teaching provides knowledge but knowledge by itself is nothing without application. As in school, it is insufficient for the chemistry teacher to only lecture. He must also include a lab so that the objective truth of what he taught can be subjectively observed and verified. It is the lab that tests and proves the student’s understanding of and ability to apply the truth he has learned. Without such personal interaction with the truth, the teacher’s words fail to transform the seed of knowledge into a thriving, fruit-bearing tree. 

Most students view knowledge as malleable, subject to change, and constantly evolving; therefore, the knowledge they hear is often dismissed as either irrelevant, incomplete, or inapplicable and effects little to no change in their life. But the student who has wrestled with the teacher’s words, tested them in the lab of life, and has seen them proven true knows that these lessons are not mere words. They are more than that. For now they have been internalized. No longer are they part of an ever-changing body of knowledge. Now, they resonate within the student as transforming, eternal truths.

Therefore, “Count it all joy, my brethren, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3) Mere words cannot produce such a response. Nor can “a good talking to.” The only discipline that produces the proper response is the one that provides a test. 

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Quick Thoughts: “You are my God.”

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But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

— Psalm 31:14

Have you ever thought about this phrase? What does it mean to declare that something or someone is your God?

According to Psalm 31, here are some answers below (corresponding verse in parentheses).

To say, “You are my God” means:

  1. You trust in this person/thing to deliver you out of difficult situations. It is the refuge that you run into for shelter when life is beating you up. (verse 1).
  2. You rely on it to be attentive to your needs, to be quick and effective in the salvation you seek. (verse 2)
  3. You seek wisdom and guidance from it about how to make sense out of your chaotic life. (verse 3)
  4. It is that thing that you seek to glorify with your life, that which you are willing to give the credit for your successes, instead of yourself. (verse 3)
  5. You rely on this person/thing for not only protecting you from present troubles but also future ones. (verse 4)
  6. All that your god embodies is honorable and true to you. Those that contradict your god, you abhor. (verse 6)
  7. You feel that your god understands you and you rejoice in the intimacy you have with it. (verse 7)
  8. You trust in this god to not only deliver you but to also expand your territory so that you have freedom to roam. (verse 8)
  9. You rely on it during times of grief, anguish, suffering, and affliction. When you are at your weakest and an utter derision to all around you, you still cling to this god to keep you from shame. (verse 9-17)
  10. You seek vengeance through it, to give you the justice you cannot get on your own. (verses 18, 23)
  11. You view it as the source of good things and a rewarder of those who are faithful to it. (verse 19)
  12. You trust it to protect you from harassment, physical harm, emotional pain, and hopelessness. (verse 12, 20-22)
  13. You rely on it to give you strength and hope. (verse 24)
  14. You find your resilience grows out of its character and presence in your life. (verse 24)
  15. You decide to surrender your life to its influence and control, to be “true” to it because you believe you cannot manage your life without it. (verse 23)

Let’s be honest. Gods can take many forms. Your god may be money, intelligence, alcohol, sex, food, work, humor, praise from others, self-harm, rationalizations, justifications, learning/reading, social media, depression, Netflix, busy-work, or the many-headed hydra of have to’s that plague us from day to day.

OR…your god may be religion, doctrine, good works, volunteering, going the extra mile for someone in need, false humility, presenting the “perfect picture”to outsiders, guilt, praying (instead of doing), doubt, materialism/shopping, or the unending list of do’s and don’ts that echo daily through our head.

Or it may be something else entirely.

But whatever you proclaim to be your god (even if you do not believe in the supernatural and claim yourself as your highest authority) will eventually be measured. Not by the standard of how well it meets your selfish ends, but by the strength of its character while under duress.

You may pick your god. That is your right. But be careful what you dedicate your life to. Most gods break when tested, for they are full of impurities and their promises are made of thin plastic. That is why you still feel hopeless. That is why there is a longing in your heart for something (ANYTHING!) to be real. For in those times that you see your god for all it truly is, you realize that all you have ever worshiped is a mere facsimile of the original and one, true God. Only He has the integrity to withstand the tests that attack Him and to deliver you from harm as well.

You must decide. To what, or whom, will you say: “You are my God.”

Lessons from Proverbs 10

Throughout scripture we are told to pursue wisdom and to ask for it. But Proverbs 10 goes a little deeper and gives us a comparison/contrast between the person who is wise and the one who is foolish.

Wisdom/Righteousness

Foolishness/Wickedness

Brings joy to the Father Brings grief to Mother
Delivers from death Ill-gotten treasures are of no value
God does not let go hungry God thwarts their cravings
Diligent yields wealth Laziness yields poverty
Gathers crops at proper time Sleeps during the harvest (disgraceful)
Blessings crown their head Violence overwhelms their mouth
Their memory is a blessing The name will rot
Accepts commands Comes to ruin
Walks securely due to integrity Takes crooked paths and is found out, causes grief
Mouth is a fountain of life Violence overwhelms their mouth
Love covers over all wrongs Hatred stirs up dissensions
Discerning Lacks judgment
Stores up knowledge Mouth invites ruin
Wages bring them life Income brings them punishment
Heeds discipline and shows the way to life Ignores correction and leads others astray
Holds his tongue Conceals his hatred, lying lips, spreads slander, uses lots of words
Tongue is choice silver Heart is of little value
Lips nourish many  Die for lack of judgment
Delights in wisdom Finds pleasure in evil conduct
Given what he desires Overtaken by what he dreads
Stands firm forever Swept away by the storm
Fears the Lord, long life Years cut short
Their prospect is joy Their hope comes to nothing
The way of the Lord is a refuge The way of the Lord is a ruin
Will never be uprooted Will not remain in the land
Mouth brings forth wisdom Perverse tongue will be cut out
Lips know what is fitting Mouth knows only what is perverse

Now, instead of asking yourself which column best describes you, ask God to reveal to you the true state of your heart and how you may develop and display His wisdom in your life.