Text: “My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded. If they say come with us… don’t travel that road with them or set foot on their path,” – Proverbs 1:10-15 (CSB)
If we are to follow the example of Jesus, then we must place limits upon the influence of others regarding our conduct. For Christ, submission to His Father’s will characterized His life. He was subjected and tempted to follow the dictates of others, but situational ethics was not what motivated and sustained Jesus during His life. He remained in unbroken fellowship with His father (John 14:10) amidst the fiercest of trials. In this sense, Christ gives us an unerring example.
As Christians, we are called to place the securities of this world into a proper perspective and to fully embrace the love and leading of God. The Lord promises us an “abundant Life”(John 10:10) and it is in relationship with Him that we find fulfilment and the truest sense of purpose. God has created us individually with a unique set of gifts and abilities that, properly employed, will enable us to succeed within His will and He knows of the opportunities and experiences that would best bring us joy in purposeful occupation.
Today’s text reminds us of God’s desire for us to reflect His integrity, compassion and beneficence as we relate to others. Every “good gift is from above” (James 1:17) and we are to reflect the impartial, gracious love of God who’s desire is for our best interest and salvation. As our Creator, He sustains us in this life and it is “in Him that we live and move and have our being”(Acts 17:28). He bids us to place our trust in His unfailing, steadfast love.
It is our natural, unconverted hearts that would encourage us to take matters into our own hands. Our naturally selfish motives would lead us to exploit others in our attempts to satisfy the greedy, uncaring desires of the carnal heart. But our Lord would lift us up.
In Matthew 6:25,26, Jesus appeals to us to lay aside our concerns and worries in favour of our reliance upon God. “…I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
We are created in God’s image and His desire is for us to be loved by Him and empowered in His love to be active as channels of His grace to a dying world. Prophecy reminds us that the dominion of sin will not continue. The Lord will intervene. Justice will prevail. He, whose providences know no failure will restore us into the harmonious reality that once characterized our race.
There will come a time when we will no longer be disappointed, misunderstood or manipulated by the best intentions or outright abuses of others. The Lord has declared in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” “God will wipe away every tear”(Revelation 21:4) and usher us into his Presence.
In this sense, eternity begins today as we intentionally decide to surrender ourselves into the care and keeping of God. Within His will, I no longer break myself or those around me, but empower and support others. They have a right to embrace the goodness of God as well. In His strength, we each can find peace and certainty. May God help us to extend His blessing to others.