Daily Devotional – Proverbs 10:17 – June 1, 2023

“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”
Proverbs 10:17

Discipline can mean two different, but related, things. The first has almost become synonymous with punishment. Discipline is the correction a person receives after doing something wrong. The second definition is more of a personal characteristic. It’s a self-enforced adherence to a certain standard of behavior.

I think that humans naturally don’t like discipline in either sense. That’s not to say that no one enjoys leading a disciplined life, but just that in general, we all tend to avoid it at first. Think about little kids. It’s not uncommon for a child to deny that they broke the rules, even when they’re caught red handed. They’re trying to avoid the discipline that they know is coming. Teenagers (in general) don’t like the personal discipline of waking up early, it’s easier to sleep until noon. Most adults in America don’t like the discipline required to eat healthy, work out, and be fit. It’s easier to eat what tastes good and is convenient and to do things that aren’t physically challenging.

You’ll notice something about these generalities though. While most people may fall into those categories, not all do. And often, those that don’t are better off for it. Kids that receive discipline, even after denying their wrongdoing, are more well-adjusted as adults than kids who receive no correction. Teenagers who get in the habit of waking up early are better prepared for the days when a job will require them to be up early every day. People who work out frequently and maintain a healthy diet are often almost fanatical about it, simply because they recognize the benefits of the discipline.

Our faith is similar. It requires discipline in both forms. When we go astray, we need correction. That may come from personal conviction, from the advice of mentors, or from life circumstances that God uses to teach us. As we grow up in our faith, we also need to develop personal discipline to maintain our relationship with God. Daily scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and time dedicated to God are disciplines that, just like working out, are difficult at first and may even take some time to show results, but end up with huge benefits.

Jesus often challenges us in Scripture to deny our human nature. It’s no question that part of that is our desire to avoid discipline. To become mature in faith, one needs both aspects of discipline. Those that try to avoid it, as the proverb says, will go astray and in turn lead others astray. Those who learn from it and embrace its benefits will find freedom and life in that discipline, and thereby show others the way.


Help me not to spurn discipline in my life, but to welcome it. Help me to see where you’re trying to correct me, and to heed your word. Help me also to hold myself to high standards of discipline in my relationship with you. Help me to be committed to having a mature and disciplined faith.
In Jesus’ Name,

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