Wise don’ts to live by

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

W

E DRAW close to God in faith, prayer, in the word and through our con­nec­tion to the com-mu­nity as we con­tinue our jour­ney on this high­way of wis­dom, sharp­en­ing our abil­ity to dis­cern. What­ever we call good only be­comes godly when the source is traced back to God. In this area of dis­cern­ing, we need help from cred­i­ble men­tors, a hun­gry heart that de­sires to obey God, a clear path of un­der­stand­ing, be­cause what we be­lieve will de­ter­mine how we will be­have.

Those who are given the op­por­tu­nity to wield spir­i­tual in­flu­ence carry a greater re­spon­si­bil­ity...james 3:1 says “Dear broth­ers and sis­ters, not many of you should be­come teach­ers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Who we al­low to teach should be cho­sen with great care and prayer for it spews out lifechang­ing or life-dam­ag­ing in­flu­ence. Each time you hear a re­li­gious re­stric­tion, treat it un­der the scru­tiny of God’s word, guided by the Spirit, then with­out a doubt ap­ply it. Be­lieve me such dis­ci­pline of dis­cern­ment will guard you from abuse and lead you to the lib­er­at­ing truth of the scrip­tures.

Proverbs chap­ter 3:27-35 is a se­ries of don’ts...ac­tu­ally Five don’ts to help us sur­vive this com­pli­cated life. Bi­b­li­cal truth is truth taught by the bi­ble...not just an in­ci­dent recorded in the bi­ble. If it is a teach­ing of the scrip­ture, be firm, if not, be flexible. A word of caution...don’t ra­tio­nal­ize. Don’t be firm if the com­mand serves your pur­pose and don’t be flexible if it is oth­er­wise. Judge and dis­cern these wise don’ts in Proverbs 3:27-35 by ac­ti­vat­ing dis­cern­ment that comes from the Lord.

Don’t deny good things from those who de­serve it (v.27)

This don’t im­plies that those good things you should give to oth­ers, tech­ni­cally, are no longer yours, like their salaries and ben­e­fits. The prac­ti­cal­ity of this re­stric­tion puts a defin­ing prin­ci­ple; don’t deny good things that oth­ers de­serve when it is in your power to help them. This does not re­strict our rights...but helps us fight our own greed, deep­en­ing our re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers, do­ing a com­mon good for all. Take it se­ri­ously and obey.

Don’t de­lay help (v.28)

“If you can help your neigh­bour now, don’t say, ‘Come back to­mor­row and I will help you’.” The word “if” is a great re­lief...no one is forced to help if you have no op­por­tu­nity to help but a great re­spon­si­bil­ity to ev­ery­one who walks in wis­dom to not de­lay help when you have the re­sources to do so. Al­ways check your mo­tives be­fore the Lord.

Don’t plot harm against your neigh­bor (v.29) There’s a prac­ti­cal in­sight here that re­minds us that when the worst of times come, the ones we can trust the most are our neigh­bors. Don’t lose their trust by plotting harm against them. The as­sump­tion here is that re­lat­ing with our neigh­bors is more prof­itable than mak­ing an en­emy out of them.

Don’t pick a fight with­out rea­son (v.30)

“Don’t pick a fight with­out rea­son, when no one has done you harm”. The re­stric­tion is not against self-de­fense but be­ing a bully and op­press­ing the de­fense­less.

Don’t envy vi­o­lent peo­ple or copy their ways (v.31-37)

Prayer

Abba, your lists of wise don’ts are for our pro­tec­tion... from evil and from our­selves. It re­strains our im­pul­sive hearts. Grant us grace to pay at­ten­tion to them in de­tail. Grant us your abound­ing strength to ap­ply them and a will­ing heart to obey. Grant us the wis­dom to dis­cern the dif­fer­ence from among man’s don’ts, re­li­gious don’ts, and

God’s don’ts. Lord, hear our prayers. Thank you

Lord for sav­ing our souls through Christ our Lord ...Amen

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