Readings:  Proverbs 22:1-21 and  John 18:1-14

Proverbs 22:5-6
Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

“Two Teachings”

Two proverbs, or wise sayings are referenced above. One is often quoted to encourage discipline. There is a proper way to discipline, just as there is a proper way to make one’s voice heard.

Today we hear voices crying out. People struggle against authority designed to bring peace.  Peace officers fear for their lives and so do citizens. Yes, good and bad exists in every group. Often, however, the outcry is often blinded to the truth. The cry goes out against the whole group instead of the individual.

This makes me think of the Back to the Future movies. Marty and Doc go to the future where Biff is in charge. There is crime and vice all around. Is that what we want? Is that what our world is coming to?

Thorns and snares are the way of the crooked. In the midst of recent protests there are those who seek to keep peace and cry out for reform, change from status quo. But others cast thorns and snares causing even more unrest.  Guard yourself against this type of person keeping far from them and their ways. Do not allow their way to become your way of life.

Now, the often quoted: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. I am sure every one of us could cite instances where this is not true. There are people who fall from faith daily, so it seems. But, because of the training, their conscience continues to nag at them. The discipline is still there.

Will God be ignored? Will He be despised by man? No, because He loves mankind too much. Therefore, He leads us, through Jesus, back to trust—of Him and one another.

What does Jesus say? Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. (Luke 18:17)  He is reminding us of what trust is really about. When we are under the discipline of God, we live lives that are pure and holy.

Living under God’s discipline changes our lives completely.  So much so that joy fills our lives. Maybe not the kind of joy that brings loud laughter, but an internal joy that cannot be taken away.

What is it that brings you joy? And why does it bring you joy? Is it something a parent or grandparent taught you? Or maybe it was something  a favorite teacher taught you (is that why they are a favorite?!). Many things bring us joy. But the greatest joy we have is knowing the forgiveness we are given in Jesus.

We should never hold back on sharing the reason we live under the discipline we do: God’s rich and wise reason for calling us His own. Think of the outpouring of God’s love for us. Be reminded of Jesus and the forgiveness we have been given. 

Did Jesus suffer? Yes, He did. But did He retaliate? No, but He did continue to hold out the reminder of the life God holds for each one of us. Listen to Him. Read His Word. And continue on the path He lays before you, for His word is a lamp for [your] feet and a light for [your] path. (Psalm 119:105)

 

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, many are the snares that would draw us from You.  But living in true faith in You and sharing Your love with one another fills us with joy.  May we, with child-like faith and trust follow You, so that we know the eternal joys of heaven. Amen.