Last night I took my dog out for her nightly stroll. As usual, she was smelling the ground while I thought through my day and spent time in prayer. I was pondering my last several days and came to a conclusion: I am rather foolish. Thinking through several decisions with people, money, and time, the only logical conclusion was I was a fool. As we continued walking around the yard Proverbs 22.15 popped into my mind:
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
I had to conclude I was still but a child. What hope do I have to get out of this? How can I ever change?
The answer was plain – I need the rod of correction in my life.
While this verse has often been used by parents as a reason to discipline their children, I became giddy with excitement as I realized the implications of this verse in my life.
The word “rod” used in this passage is the same understanding as “canon” (and no, we are not referring to the wartime artillery). The Bible is referred to as the Canon because it is the rule, authority, and measurement of our lives. It is the tool for discipline and correction; and like a shepherd’s staff (rod), the Bible guides, comforts, and corrects my life.
Do you see the beauty within the Proverb? If there is foolishness within us, we are declared a child – but there IS hope, we need the Word of God to do its work within our lives. But there is a caveat. If you don’t do this one thing in your life, there is no point in studying the Bible:
It may seem a bit obvious but if you are unwilling to obey the Word and allow Jesus to do His work within your life, then no amount of Bible study will ever help. Knowledge for knowledge sake still leads you to hell. Even satan knows a lot about Scripture, but that doesn’t mean his life has been influenced and transformed by it.
Being open and responding to the Word (both Jesus and Scripture) and willing to have a predetermined “yes” for whatever He asks is a sign of spiritual maturity. We don’t wait to evaluate the request, we don’t spend weeks analyzing the pros and cons of the decision before getting back to God, we make a declaration beforehand that whatever He asks is already a “yes” – no matter how crazy or difficult it might be.
Check out these passages:
- Jeremiah 7.23: But this is what I commanded them, saying “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.”
- Romans 6.16: Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
- John 14.15: If you love Me, keep My commandments.
- John 14.23-24: Jesus answered ands aid to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
Bible study without obedience is like going to Disneyland wearing a blindfold and not riding the rides. You hear the excitement around you but it is pointless. Okay maybe that is a bad example but you get the point.
The purpose of Bible study is knowing Jesus and deepening your intimacy with Him. It is not merely knowing about Him but becoming thoroughly intimate with Him that His life becomes yours and you begin to think (Philippians 2.5) and act (1 Peter 2.21) like Him – which, by the way, can only happen if He is living within you sourcing and demonstrating His life in and through you.
But as you get into the truth of God’s Word you are constantly confronted with a “rod” – a tool of correction and measurement. Everywhere you turn you see a plain depiction of who Jesus is and what the Christian life is suppose to look like and it presses you: “Is this what YOUR life looks like? Is there any degree of difference?” When confronted, you have one of two choices:
- Shrug it off, disobey, and keep living the way you are.
- See your desperate need for Jesus, confess your fault and lack, embrace Him, and press forward in obedience.
One leads to death, the other to righteousness and life. One is the way of an unbeliever, the other of a Christian.
Are you living in obedience to the Word of God? Do you dive within its pages with the desire to obey or do you shrink back from study due to fear of what might need to change in your life?
Don’t hesitate, dive deep, study hard, and live a life of obedience.
Question: what is the hardest thing about obedience for you? Answer in the comment section below.