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10For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:10-11 

Those who follow the way of Jesus are typically skeptical of the fact that God gives rewards. It doesn’t seem like getting something from God should be a motivation for giving our lives to him. Something about it feels wrong. We long to have pure motives – to love God for God’s sake rather than to love God for our own benefit. While there is much truth in that statement, the Bible doesn’t clearly make such distinctions. It holds out the reward for walking in the way of wisdom with compelling clarity. Solomon says wisdom leads to riches and honor. He claims it leads to a long life. He posits it brings blessing (Proverbs 3:15-18). And, in writing to his son, Solomon clearly claims there are benefits that come with walking in the way of wisdom.

People push back against the idea of rewards because they question motivation, but also to ‘hedge our bets.’ We aren’t confident God’s going to deliver on these promises, so we doubt whether it’s safe to be motivated by them. Still, is it true that those who walk in the way of wisdom live a long life? Is it accurate that those who live wisely have riches and honor and peace? The problem occurs when we mistakenly read the Proverbs as promises rather than principles and it erodes the ground we stand on. When Solomon writes about the rewards of walking in the way of wisdom, he understands the results don’t happen 100% of the time – they didn’t back then, and they don’t today. However, most of the time, they hold true. Solomon is inviting us to play the law of averages and take the long-term approach to life. He’s calling us to align our lives with the reality of the way God has made the universe to work, and in so doing to walk in the way of blessing.

The author of Hebrews picked up on Solomon’s expectations resulting from discipline and wrote, “For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:10-11). When we recognize that the Proverbs are pointing out principles and not making promises, we’re freed to walk in the way of wisdom with realistic and honest expectations. We can expect that good awaits because God’s discipline always shapes us to be more like him – this fruit shows up in holiness and peace. However, even when things don’t go the way we expect or hope, we’re still able to walk in faith and expectation. I AM SECOND is a company that tells stories of people who surrender to Jesus and find life – who walk in wisdom and find freedom. Take a few minutes today and pick one story that relates with your life, watch it, and be encouraged.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text 0=””]

By Ryan Paulson  

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