Friday, July 6, 2018

Torn down to be built up

The road to life is a disciplined life; ignore correction and you're lost for good. 
(Proverbs 10:17 MSG)

While I don't always reflect it, I am working toward having a disciplined focus in life. I want to be honest here - disciplined focus in every area of your life is hard work. A disciplined life is one that is molded - one that receives the necessary training that corrects the course of one's actions. Correction can occur at about three points along the journey we call life - either at the beginning of the course prior to the action being taken, mid-way through the consequences of choosing the wrong course, or after the course has been completed and we find ourselves experiencing a pretty unwanted outcome. The one who has chosen to live a disciplined life has accepted the fact that training is a necessary part of life - as much as having a 'personal trainer' isn't my goal in life, I need one. One who is willing to live a disciplined life has come to accept that it is this 'training' that both builds the mental faculties and establishes the moral character of a man. When obedience is learned, there is order in life. Self-control keeps one from doing or saying things that will adversely affect the course one takes.

The 'personal trainer' I need isn't the one for my physical body (although that wouldn't hurt), but for my mental and spiritual oversight. I need instruction in how to make right choices, not always listening to my emotions. I need to embrace the correction of the Holy Spirit in my life - my personal trainer sent from God to help me grow. Ignoring correction guarantees you and I a path of unsuccessful ventures - riddled with choices that undermine good character and eat away at solid morals. Correction to the unwise seems like a form of unjust or unwarranted punishment - often met with the "why me" kind of complaint. Correction to the wise is a blessing and a help in times of struggle or danger. It easy to fall into the "why me" pit of complaint, but hear this my friends - God isn't giving us anything he isn't willing to walk with us through, helping us to learn from what it is we are walking through.

The idea of correction is to 'set right' - the fool never realizes the specific course of action they are embarking upon as actually not being the right course in the first place! That is why the fool never embraces the correction - he doesn't see the value in it. A man or woman that is seeking to live a disciplined life will value correction for what it adds to life - not seeing it as 'taking away' from life. It is important to see the activity of the wise and the inactivity of the fool. The wise embraces correction - the fool chafes against it, ignores it, or simply never even hears it. Embracing correction is a life-giving choice that establishes a right course for the wise.

God's correction is always designed to make us stronger, wiser, and filled more with his grace! He never tears us down in correcting us. Sure, he may ask us to stop some course of action, but it is always with the design of building us up in moral character - remembering that to build up, sometimes one must make way for the new growth by dismantling something that stands in the way of that new work. The next time we are faced with correction, consider this: Is the course of action we are taking building us up, or tearing us down? If the answer is the latter, it is likely that God is attempting to steer us back on course in order to establish a strong footing upon which we may find our lives 'built up' anew. Just sayin!

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