I have visited people in jails and been very close to the cells. Even though I’m only visiting and know I can leave any time I want, I don’t feel very free at the time. We want to be free to do whatever it is we want to do, but that is foolishness if we want to do the wrong things. Sins enslave us and hold us captive. They can’t set us free. Only God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus Christ can set us free.
God’s love is inclusive, reaching out to all people. The sexual relationship is or at least should be exclusive, reserved for one man and one woman in marriage. That is God’s design for and gift to a married couple. Things go wrong when people forget or reject God’s plan. The Good News is that God still loves and is ready to forgive those who don’t follow God’s plan.
It happens, but it shouldn’t. It happens with far to many people: preachers, politicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, coaches. What is ‘It?’ It is an affair. It is seeing a prostitute. It is getting exposed and paying a heavy price that may include the loss of almost everything. Proverbs warns, don’t go there. Stay as far away from that temptation and trap as possible. If you are married remain emotionally, physically and totally faithful to your spouse. If you aren’t married remain faithful to your future spouse. That’s God’s plan and design and it works.
Danger! Keep Out! Proverbs shouts out the danger of immoral people. They may look good and seem enticing, but they are bad news. They’ll lead you down the path of misery, not pleasure. Stay away from them. Walk the path of faith and faithfulness.
When we look around we can see a lot of things. Usually we focus on one thing. A distracted driver can get in an accident if he takes his eyes off the road. The Christian distracted by the things around him can stray away from his faith. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
There are times I can’t believe the words I hear in public or in the media. “F bombs” are far too common. God’s name is used recklessly. You’ve heard it too. Proverbs tells us to avoid perverse language. Do we? I’m doing a funeral service on Saturday for a friend I’ve known for over 30 years. His idea of a bad word to say was “dirty birds.” Not so bad. We need to chose our words carefully and tame our tongues with God’s help.
What does it mean to guard our hearts? Proverbs tells us do that. Jesus warns us about all kinds of evil that come from an unprotected heart. To guard our hearts means to keep them safe, to avoid needless exposure to people or to things that would pull us away from God and His will. This doesn’t mean we isolate ourselves. But it does mean that when we engage people who do not accept the Christian faith or values, we try to influence them in a positive way. We don’t conform to their ways or go along to get along.
Everyone I know wants to be healthy and have a good life. But not everyone gets both of those, at least on the surface. Some people who look like they have it all are miserable on the inside. Others who suffer through life have a healthy attitude and find joy in life. What’s the difference? Some times I think it can be the difference between the person who takes God and word to heart and those who don’t. God gives forgiveness and life to all who believe and follow Jesus Christ. But those who reject God and His Word go looking for lasting meaning and purpose. They have no cure for sin guilt or shame. There missing out on what really counts.
Have you ever been in a power failure on a pitch black night or in a room with no windows and you were surrounded by darkness? When that happens you search for a light. The life of the wicked, of those turn away from God and toward evil, is total darkness. People who reject God suffer from a spiritual power failure. They need the light that God gives. Jesus is the light of the world. Following Jesus leads us to the full and bright light of God’s love. He is the power source for our faith and our lives. His light and power will never fail us.
We’ve all seen the signs at highway off ramps warning drivers not to use the off ramp as an on ramp. Wrong Way. Proverbs puts a giant Wrong Way sign in front of the path that leads to evil. Don’t go there. Don’t even think about it. This is always the wrong path to take.