God is not unclear about what we must do to keep His commands; keep His words close to our heart and obediently follow them. Proverbs 7:1 says, My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. There is only one way to do this and it is to be in God’s word and apply it to our lives. We must constantly turn to God and remind ourselves of what it means to be righteous. We will often fail, but God does not expect perfection, He expects effort and trusting in the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us to be obedient.
We cannot play with temptation and expect to avoid sin indefinitely. Just like playing with fire we will eventually get burned. Proverbs 6:27 says, Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? If we avoid the temptation of sin, we avoid sin altogether. Let us not kid ourselves into thinking we are able to be around temptation and not sin. The best prevention against sinning is to avoid the temptation surrounding it.
Nothing in our lives is hidden from God. We may be able to hide certain things from people around us, even those closest to us, but God sees it all. Proverbs 5:21 For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all his paths. Our path and the things we do in this life are in full view of the Lord and yet God still loves us unconditionally.
This world has many distractions. We can easily find dozens of excuses as to why we do not focus on the things that matter. God wants us to look straight ahead and to focus on Him and His path for us. Proverbs 4:25 says, Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. When a farmer is planting rows, he does not look down at his feet, he fixes his eye on a point in the distance in order to maintain a straight row. If we do the same with God and fix our eyes on Him, He well make our path straight.
The more we trust in God to provide our path, the better off we are. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. God’s path is always the most straight. It is our direct route to God’s provision and His will.
Discretion is the ability to tell right from wrong. Proverbs 2:11 says, Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Discretion and understanding help us detect the evil motives of men and women. For some people discretion comes naturally, but for most it is developed over time using the Holy Spirit to make wise decisions.
Yesterday we completed our reading in the New Testament until Christmas when we will return to the Gospels to read about Jesus’ birth. For the next several weeks we will be reading the book of Proverbs and select chapters in the book of Psalm.
In today’s reading the main verse that stood out to me was Proverbs 1:19, Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gains; it takes away the lives of those who get it. When we believe we cannot live without earthly possessions, it becomes a cancer that leads us to greed that consumes us and moves us away from God and His will for our lives.
Today we read the third and final letter written by John the Apostle. The letter was written to Gaius, a prominent Christian in one of the churches to encourage him in his Christian life and to commend him for his hospitality. At this time, church leaders traveled from town to town helping establish new congregations. They depended on the hospitality of fellow believers and Gaius was one of the ones who welcomed them. In 3 John 1:5 John says, Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. It amazes me when I meet fellow believers that we immediately feel kinship with each other through the commonality of Christ in our lives. As believers we are all part of the same family.
When you boil it all down, God’s command to us is simple; love others the way he loves us. 2 John 1:6 says, And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. If we are obedient to God, then we are to walk in love, which means we are to love others. It is one of the simplest and yet hardest things to do.