The Disciplined Disciple - A Study of the Book of Proverbs (Chapter 12)
The Disciplined Disciple
The word disciple comes from the word discipline. A disciple is someone who follows, adheres to, or supports a set of guidelines, rules, or teachings. To be disciplined is the act of having restraint, control, and obedience to such guidelines, rules, or teachings. To be disciplined can also refer to punishment when the rules or guidelines are not followed. Most of the time we associate punishment with pain and discomfort, and well we should.
God’s discipline is not like man’s punishment. We may associate punishment with the memory of a spanking, being grounded, or even time spent in jail for someone who breaks the law. If we look at these verses in Proverbs, It shows us a very different view of discipline and punishment.
God will never force us to conform to His will or desire for our lives; He always has, and always will, allow us to make a choice. However, there are consequences to every choice we make. Here in Proverbs we see the consequences of the choices we are faced with in life, and we are left to make those choices. God wants us to make the best choice because the consequence always leads to blessings. But, He allows us to make our own choice even if the consequence will leave us in a mess. God’s version of discipline is simple, here are your choices, and here are the outcomes. Punishment follows when the choice that is made is outside of God’s will. We actually create our own punishment when we choose an alternate path from the path of wisdom.
Good Student * Foolish Student
In every classroom, in every school across the world there are students who hate being there and have no desire to learn. They do not do homework, are ill prepared, are normally disruptive, and simply make everyone around them miserable. These students, regardless of age, are described in the first verse of Proverbs 12.
“Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1 NKJV)
“If you love learning, you love the discipline that goes with it – how short sided to refuse correction?” (Proverbs 12:1 TMB)
Those who put no effort into learning and are offended by correction are very simply “stupid.” We have all been told not to use that word but the Bible states it plainly and we all know people who fit the description.
“A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of wicked devices He will condemn A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.” (Proverbs 12: 2–3 NKJV)
“A good person basks in the delight of God, and he wants nothing to do with devious schemers. You can’t find firm footing in a swamp, but life rooted in God stands firm.” (Proverbs 12: 2-3 TMB)
When a person seeks after wisdom and knowledge, as taught in Proverbs, that person will have God’s favor working in his life, and those who seek after these things will find the best possible way to live and have happiness and peace. They will have a good and strong foundation on which to build their life.
Those who hate discipline and the work it takes to seek and find knowledge; those who try to get ahead in life through deception and schemes will be condemned by their own poor choices and actions. This way of thinking is not the “get rich quick” way that they are looking for, but a very hard and bitter life with a sinking foundation, on which, nothing good will ever be built.
A good wife is her husband’s crown.
“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.” (Proverbs 12:4 NKJV)
“A hearty wife invigorates her husband, but a frigid woman is cancer in the bones.” (Proverbs 12:4 TMB)
This verse paints two different pictures of a good wife, depending on the version you read. But the messages are true and powerful and a wise wife should take heed.
A good wife is the standard bearer of her family. The husband may be the bread winner and the person who provides for his family, although in today’s society those roles are increasingly being blurred. In the spiritual order of the family however, this remains a solid truth.
Traditionally, the wife is the caretaker of the family. She gives birth to the children, watches over them and trains them in their earliest years, keeps the house in order, and feeds and nourishes family members. Her job helps to keep the family in harmony.
Traditionally, the husband is the provider for the family. He must go out into the world to make a living for his family. In times past, that meant he went off into the fields to grow food, off into the woods to hunt, and for some, go into the markets and make deals with merchants to procure what the family needed to survive.
There are many ways a wife can bring shame to her husband. A woman who cheats on her husband brings shame to him. If she does not watch over her children and they are always causing trouble,this brings shame on the family. Even the wife, who does not keep her house clean, her children clean, and her family fed, brings shame on her husband.
Word gets around town, in the office, at church, when a wife is unfaithful or considered lazy. The result may be difficulties for the husband at work and in society in general making it hard for him to provide as well as he could for his family. It will also cause strife and division between the husband and wife and disharmony in the family.
Now, I know this all sounds very old fashioned and out of touch with today’s society, but in truth, it is as relevant today as it ever was. The roles of men and women may have changed, but the basic truth of this verse still holds true. If anything, it puts an equal burden on both husbands and wives as standard bearers of the family. If both are not fulfilling the roles of parent, provider, and supporter of the family, it shames both partners and weakens the family unit.
Making sure all family members’ needs are met spiritually, physically, and emotionally, keeping the family united and strong, is a full time job for both husband and wife.
The Message Bible adds another level of The Good Wife to this thought.
“A hearty wife invigorates her husband, but a frigid woman is cancer in the bones.” (Proverbs 12:4 TMB)
This speaks of the need for physical intimacy between a husband and wife. A woman, who engages in sex with her husband often, keeps him satisfied. The same is true of a husband that shows his wife affection on a regular basis. When these needs are met between a husband and wife, the chance of one or the other of them straying from the marriage bed is greatly reduced.
As husbands and wives grow older and the children leave home, interests may change. Too often once the children leave home, husband and wife go their separate ways because the level of intimacy between them has waned through the years. Keeping intimacy alive and well throughout a marriage will keep a husband and wife close and in love. Interests may indeed change, but if your relationship remains intimate, you can discover those changes together and strengthen the marital bond.
Thoughts lead to powerful words.
Everyone has thoughts; the question is, what kind of thoughts, are they?
“The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked are, “lie in wait for blood,” But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.” (Proverbs 12:5-6 NKJV)
“The thinking of principled people makes for justice; the plots of degenerates corrupt. The words of the wicked kill, the speech of the upright saves.” (Proverbs 12:5-6 TMB)
Human nature makes it easy to think negatively about others and see only the bad in every situation. When thoughts are left to travel down negative paths the words that follow are equally negative.
It takes a trained mind to divert negative thought patterns into a positive direction; but when that happens, not only will thoughts become positive but words, and actions as well.
How is a mind trained to think positive thoughts and a mouth bridled against negative words? A mind is trained and a tongue brought under control through seeking Godly wisdom in the Word, Prayer, and Praising the Father in songs and hymns. This takes training and discipline every day of our lives.
The results of positive thoughts and words are blessings.
“The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand. A man will be commended according to his wisdom, but he who is of a perverse heart will be despised. Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, than he who honors himself but lacks bread.” (Proverbs 12:7-9 NKJV)
“Wicked people fall to pieces – there’s nothing to them; the homes of good people hold together. A person who talks sense is honored; airheads are held in contempt. Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act important and starve in the process.” (Proverbs 12:7-9 TMB)
I like the way The Message Bible puts these verses. There is nothing airy or hard to understand. We all know people who fall into these categories; the wicked who are boastful and think more highly of themselves than they should. They talk a big game and strut around with their chests out, but when things go south, they fall apart because they have no foundation. The godly person works hard, keeping their opinions to themselves. They see the good around them even when they are struggling. God is there helping them through the storm because their lives are built on His firm foundation.
The difference is seen in the little things.
It is easy to look at a person who is well known for their godly living and acknowledge what we’ve just read; but looking at people around us every day gives us even more proof that these scriptures are true and never changing.
“A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding. The wicked covet the catch of evil men, but the root of the righteous yields fruit.” (Proverbs 12:10-12 NKJV)
“Good people are good to their animals; the “good-hearted” bad people kick and abuse them. The one who stays on the job has food on the table, the witless chase whims and fancies. What the wicked construct finally falls into ruin, while the roots of the righteous give life, and more life.” (Proverbs 12:10-12 TMB)
Godly people are kind to all living things, but you can tell someone is really not what they seem to be if they mistreat animals. A wise person stays on the job, regardless if it is difficult or unpleasant. They have what my grandfather used to call,“stick-to-it-tivness.” Those who are not quitters will have great rewards in life.
Wise people take advice
If negative thoughts are left unchecked, the next action is speaking negative words. Gossip is the direct result of allowing negative, resentful, and hurtful thoughts to fester. However, when negative thoughts are replaced with something godly, words of praise and life will be spoken. It is not easy to do, but through discipline, negative thoughts can be turned around and resentfulness and bitterness can be overcome.
“The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble. A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, and the recompense of a man’s hand will be rendered to him.”(Proverbs 12:13-14 NKJV)
“The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it. Well-spoken words bring satisfaction; well-done work has its own reward.” (Proverbs 12:13-14 TMB)
- Godly advice is freely given; it’s here for the taking.
What could be better than something free? The advice given in the book of Proverbs is totally free and laid out for the taking. It is up to each one of us to take it and use it to make our lives better. There will always be those who refuse to listen to good advice, and their reward will be obvious in the end.
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. A fool’s wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame.” (Proverbs 12:15-16 NKJV)
“Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice. Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly; the prudent quietly shrug off insults.” (Proverbs 12:15-16 TMB)
Thoughts and words are connected within a person’s heart. Words are very powerful and cannot be unspoken. Careful thought should always be taken as to the words born in our minds that leave our mouths.
“He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy. No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:17-22 NKJV)
“Truthful witness by a good person clears the air, but liars lay down a smoke screen of deceit. Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise. Truth lasts; lies are here today, gone tomorrow. Evil scheming distorts the schemer; peace-planning brings joy to the planner. No evil can overwhelm a good person, but the wicked have their hands full of it. God can’t stomach liars; He loves the company of those who keep their word.” (Proverbs 12:17-22 TMB)
Walk in the steps of the prudent (sensible)
Prudence is another word for being sensible or wise. Walking in the steps of the prudent will bring great rewards. Walking in the steps of the foolish will bring shame and a difficult life, filled with sorrow.
“A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness. The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slothful will be put to forced labor. Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. The slothful man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession. In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.“ (Proverbs 12: 23-28 NKJV)
“Prudent people don’t flaunt their knowledge; talkative fools broadcast their silliness. The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work. Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up. A good person survives misfortune, but a wicked life invites disaster. A lazy life is an empty life, but “early to rise” gets the job done. Good men and women travel right into life; sin’s detours take you straight to hell.”(Proverbs 12:23-28)
God does not force us to walk in the way of wisdom; He gives us the choice to do so. His desire is for us to choose the prudent life because of all the blessings that are waiting for us along the way. He wants us to avoid the sorrow and despair that waits around every corner of life. We can do that if we are a disciplined disciple of the path of wisdom.
© 2013 miss_jkim