Grow as You Go

Have you ever heard of Parkour or Free-Running, where people run over, on, in, around, and through all kinds of obstacles? Up walls, across buildings. They seem to defy gravity, but they don’t. They USE it. They are so in tune with gravity and their body’s ability to negotiate it they are able to land right where they want. It takes a lot of practice and many bruises to get good at Parkour. But they look like dance on air.

As there are physical laws that govern the material realm, there are moral principles that govern the spiritual realm. A book of Physics describes physical laws, often in mathematical formulas. The Bible gives us moral and spiritual principles, in proverbs. The Book of Proverbs is a compilation of wise sayings and guidance for life. Scattered throughout the Book are reminders to keep pursuing wisdom and to stay teachable.

One example is Proverbs 10:8. “The wise in heart will receive commands, but a prating fool will fall.” Take note of where wisdom resides: in the heart. Wisdom is more than intellectual smarts or head-knowledge. Wisdom inhabits the heart and shapes the will.

In Proverbs, wisdom is the practical skill to live successfully. It comes from understanding the principles that underlie creation because God made it that way. Wisdom is spiritual parkour. Just as free runners use gravity to get where they want to go, the wise person regards God’s moral principles as a successful path through life.

They understand that God has established an order of authority for the home, the church, and society. The Wise skillfully negotiate their roles and responsibilities. They comply with the rules of those God has placed in authority for them.  So they, as it says in verse 18, “receive commands,” starting with God, then flowing to those He has delegated authority to.

Proverbs 10:17 says, “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.”

God is into LIFE! Full, rich, abundant life. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life and that you may have it more abundantly.”  Note that. Jesus said He came that we might have MORE life. However much you possess – there is more In Christ.

That is the idea behind the phrase “way of life” in Proverbs 10:17. It is the path that leads into even more of the living God intends for us. It is for those who “keep instruction,”  who pursue learning.

The last part of verse 17 is crucial, “he who refuses correction goes astray.” To stay teachable, we must be open to correction and admit when we are in error. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we learn this about God’s Word, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

Scripture exposes error, shows how to correct it, then stays in line with it. That is why many avoid it. They don’t want to be corrected. Most people will admit, “I’m not perfect.” But woe to the one who points out imperfection.

A man visited a friend who was a golf pro. The pro was teaching a middle-aged business executive how to improve his swing. The friend sat on a bench just behind them watching and listening as his friend patiently coached the man. Every attempt to correct was met with push-back. After a half dozen attempts to help, the pro stood back, crossed his arms, nodded, and said, “Good swing.” The lesson was over; the executive pulled out his wallet, handed over a couple of crisp $100 bills, and said, “Great lesson, Thanks,” picked up his clubs, and left. The friend said, “His swing was all wrong. Why’d you stop correcting him?”  The pro smiled as he folded the bills into his pocket; “You can’t help someone who won’t admit they need it.”

The wise do not just accept instruction, they seek it. They respond humbly to correction.

Proverbs 12:1 • Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.

Proverbs 13:18 • Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.

Proverbs 15:31–32 • The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.

The link between these Proverbs is this: Correction, a healthy rebuke, aims to either remove something hurtful from us or install something helpful in us.

Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Correction isn’t fun, but it is good.

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