Thursday, August 31, 2006

Let Wisdom Be Your Coach

My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
  Nor detest His corrections;
For whom the LORD loves He corrects,
  Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
(Proverbs 3:11-12)
Proverbs 3 describes the many benefits of having and walking in wisdom: length of days full of life and peace (v. 2); favor and esteem with God and man (v. 4); clear direction and guidance (v. 6); health and strength (v. 8); barns heaped with plenty and vats overflowing with new wine (v. 10).

Now in verses 11 and 12, we come to another benefit of wisdom, one that might not seem very pleasant, but can be very instrumental in bringing forth the other benefits: correction and reproof.

It is nice to have cheerleaders, people who will encourage you on and tell you how well we are doing. But what you really need is a coach, to break you out of foolish and unproductive thinking, bring correction to unproductive — even destructive — actions, and shape you into a winner in every area of life. A coach will point out when you are doing something incorrectly, and rebuke you when you are wrong — and the process may cause you pain. It is not because he doesn’t like you, but because he wants to see you succeed.

Wisdom is a coach.

Now, the Lord is the giver of all true wisdom, so do not despise His chastening, or as some have put it, the “School of the Lord.” Some people think that the chastening of the Lord is sickness, affliction, or any adverse thing that comes your way. Certainly God can teach you even in the midst of those things, but they do not come from Him. His way is correction, discipline, instruction. That is what the Hebrew word for “chastening,” musar, means. Here is how the Bible in Basic English puts it:
My son, do not make your heart hard against the Lord's teaching; do not be made angry by his training. For to those who are dear to him the Lord says sharp words, and makes the son in whom he has delight undergo pain.
There may be sharp words of rebuke or reproof, but it is for teaching and training, not to punish or penalize you, but to prepare you to walk in the fullness of blessing. For the Lord is not some disinterested deity, He is a loving Father who wants to see His children step into their inheritance in Him.

David understood this very well. He said, “Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it” (Psalm 141:5). Rebuke from a righteous man is an anointing. It is wisdom that leads to blessing. How much more will a rebuke from the Righteous Lord set you free and propel you into your destiny.

Meditate also on these proverbs:
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:8)

A wise son heeds his fathers instruction [musar], but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. (Proverbs 13:1)

Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. (Proverbs 27:5)
A wise man will welcome the correction and instruction of rebuke, for it will make him wiser still, leading him to greatness. He recognizes it as an act of love out in the open. But a fool will scoff and turn away.

If you want to know wisdom and experience its benefits, do not be afraid of the Lord’s corrections. They do not arise from hate but from love. It is because He loves you as His child and wants to see you step into the greatness He has purposed for you. Let His wisdom be your coach.