Proverbs 1.3 teaches that their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. This teaching refers to the purpose of the Proverbs, the wise sayings written predominantly by the wisest person to ever live.
What is the key to wisdom? The key to living a wise life is to live a life of discipline. A simple answer really to a simple question. The doing of the answer is what we find immensely difficult.
We know discipline is integral to success in dieting, sports, work and the military. Why don’t we think its equally integral to a successful marriage, parenting or knowing God? Most likely because we don’t think about discipline in relationships like we think of discipline in goal setting yet discipline is necessary for both.
What would discipline in my marriage look like for example? Some things to avoid, like fatty foods to a diet; pornography, flirtatious co-workers, clubs and people that encourage my lusts rather than my purity.
One side of discipline is the avoidance of behaviors that are destructive to the objective I am trying to obtain. We understand this truth when it comes to dieting but it also holds true to our relationships; there are just certain behaviors that are destructive to the long term building of trust and good will with those whom we claim to love and desire life-long relations.
Things to do that nurture my marriage; time apart for just the two of us, each day and each year, eye contact and active listening, serving their needs and wants, speaking kind words, forgiving quickly, prioritizing my spouse as first with my time and energy. No doubt there are other things.
It takes discipline to open the calendar and schedule dates, weekends away, and 30 minutes every evening to look at my spouse and decompress from the day through questions, active listening and empathetic responses. This is just one example where discipline is necessary to living a successful life in a relationship that for most of us is essential to long term health and happiness.
The Proverbs have many wise sayings to foster right behavior in this most important human relationship but they take discipline to implement. Likewise if I am to know God and do His will I will need to live a disciplined life.
The first discipline is to read the Bible so I can know the character and will of God. This simple discipline is largely ignored by people thus creating the distance so many feel from God. Prayer too is often inconsistent degenerating into a series of ‘hail Mary’s’ for help rather than a desire to know God and be conformed to His will. It takes discipline to set aside time to know God and speak with Him so that we can do God’s will while we go about the requirements of our day.
Discipline is a prerequisite for success in whatever objective we make for ourselves. The most important areas of our lives are those involving the people we love.
If we would be wise we would create disciplined behaviors that foster growth in love, trust and good will with those we love, then we will truly be successful.