“Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.”
Scripture is clear: The central discipline for spiritual transformation and effective living is renewing the mind. A transformed life requires a transformed mind. It is essential, therefore, to understand and manage the mental process of thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving.
Where your mind goes, you go.
An arrogant mind is self-centered. A humble mind is Christ-centered. In order to be discipline-driven in the way you act, you must first be humble and discipline-driven in the way you think. This is the heart of what scripture means by wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9.10)
It is God’s wisdom that clarifies your thinking, calms your emotions, and enables you to live and work with focus and effectiveness … all empowered by the Holy Spirit. The spiritually wise person recognizes when his focus drifts toward the wrong thing, and he has the discipline to redirect his attention back to what really matters.
Consider the power of the mental state I just described: your thinking is clear, your emotions are calm, and your mind is focused and effective.
This is why “the lamp” within you is so vitally important. You choose the lamp that you use to guide you. The word of God is the lamp that the followers of Jesus choose to use. “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline (musar) are the way of life.” (Proverb 6.23)
God’s word is the lamp that illuminates. It clarifies and enlightens. It is your light in the midst of the darkness of a broken world. It shows you the path you should follow, and it corrects you when you are off-path.
In Proverbs 6.23 Solomon says that the instruction and correction we learn from the process of musar is “the way of life.” In 5.23 Solomon said that a person “dies for lack of disciplined training (musar).” The message is clear: the lamp you use and your attitude toward disciplined training is a matter of life and death!
The point is that being trained in God’s truth is not an occasional program or periodic initiative. For the Christian, musar is how we learn the way of life to which the Lord calls us. And we should be constantly learning and growing throughout our lifetime.
Solomon emphasizes the corrective and reproving aspect of being trained in God’s truth. Being trained means being instructed, and a key part of the process is being corrected and reproved. If you do not submit to the corrections and reproofs of God’s word and God’s Spirit, then you are rejecting the lamp and refusing the process of musar. The process includes instruction and correction; teaching and reproof. Failure to submit to correction and reproof is a failure to grow.
Trust God, let the lamp of his Word illuminate your life, and do the work.