Whoever heeds life-giving correction
will be at home among the wise.
Here is the key to wisdom – simple as most deep truths are. One grows in wisdom as one is able to listen well and heed correction. All scientists know that the road to knowledge is paved with mistakes and then learning from those mistakes. So it is with wisdom. We are all born sinful; all born ignorant; what distinguishes the person who grows in wisdom from the one who grows in folly is this disposition to hearing and valuing reproof.
Most people would agree with the assessment, but, nevertheless, still fail to listen. Here are some reasons why we will not listen.
1. We choose what we will hear. Sin and pride keep us from hearing. We will listen to reproof about some sin, but refuse to consider what are our deepest sins and blind spots because of pride and desire to cling to particular sins.
2. We choose whom we will accept reproof from. Some of the best reproof comes from our enemies who are not reluctant to point out our faults, but we will not listen knowing they do not seek our good. Some good reproof comes from fools, who occasionally may be on the mark. A wise person knows how to sift the wheat from the chaff and thus benefit from the fool. But our real sin comes in refusing to listen to certain people out of pride – the husband who will not listen to his wife because he is suppose to be the head; the teacher who will not listen to her students because she should know best; the “expert” who will not listen to his critics because “what do they know.”
Of course, the greatest life-giving reproof is the giving of the gospel to those who are perishing. Ironically, God has chosen the weak and the foolish to be his messengers of the most profound truth. He has chosen us. We who are so poor at times to hear good reproof are called upon to deliver life-giving reproof to our neighbors. Let us be mindful as we deliver what is reproof to the world – calling them to confess their sin – that we are no different from they. We also would reject what we hear except for the grace of God to open our ears and hearts to the truth. Pray that God would open the ears of our neighbors and continue to open our ears to receive the ongoing, life-giving reproof for ourselves.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]
4 Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
21 Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.