Search This Blog

Friday, April 1, 2011

Consistency 101

1 If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it— how shortsighted to refuse correction! 
(Proverbs 12:1)

Teachers will tell us that the ability to learn a subject is directly influenced by our desire to learn - if we don't find the subject interesting or useful, we often discount the learning opportunity.  We often miss out on some of the most profound (yet insanely simple) lessons in life simply because we don't want to take the time or energy to apply ourselves to that learning.  There are also times when we feel that we don't "need" to learn the lesson being offered - seeing ourselves as above the lesson.  Both scenarios are dangerous ground to tread.

It is shortsighted to refuse correction.  Did you ever consider that "correction" is directly tied to "learning"?  Think of it - you do a series of math problems, turn in your paper, get it back "graded", observing that there are "red marks" on those problems that you did not get "right".  If you go through math class refusing to change the way you solve the problem, you will never get a "passing grade" in math.  In fact, you will probably never graduate!  That "red mark" is designed by the teacher to point out where you needed to focus some attention in order to avoid making the same "error" over and over again.

Think of God's discipline as the same type of "red mark" - it is designed to focus our attention on the areas of our lives where we need to make some changes in how we are doing things.  The purpose is not to humiliate or frustrate us, but to help us move into a place of understanding.  The goal is that we "graduate" from doing things our own way into learning the value of doing things God's way.  In so doing, we develop a consistency of getting "right answers" each and every time.

Disciplined living is evident when we see a heart that is consistently looking for insight into right choices.  I always challenged my math teachers by asking why "my answer" was wrong - citing that if I got the right answer, why was the method I used to determine that answer necessarily wrong.  The reply was always the same (no matter the teacher).  It was simply that I would not "consistently" get the right answer if I did not use the proper method to solve the problem.

The same is true in daily living - we can arrive at the same answer today that we got yesterday by using the same principles we applied yesterday.  But...will those same principles apply a year from now, producing the exact same answers?  Probably not!  Why?  Simply put - we need to grow, so the problems become a little more complex as we do.  Just as in math class, we moved from simple addition (2+2=4) into more complex problems like solving for "x" in an algebraic equation.  What I learned in basic math and simple addition lent itself to solving the algebraic equation, but I needed more complex thought processes to solve the latter.  I needed to "grow" in seeing the new concepts of algebra, or I'd never solve the problem consistently.

In daily life, there is a growth opportunity that comes with two choices - remaining bull-headed and stubbornly rooted in the past, or yielding to the possibility that there is something new to be learned in the present.  The disciplined life will embrace the learning with the desire to build insight into how to consistently arrive at the right choice.