Monday, January 8, 2024

Walls of Protection

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NLT)

As a pastor, I have talked to a lot of people who are facing death. And as I’ve listened to the regrets that people have, I have yet to meet anyone who said, “I regret that I became a Christian when I was eighteen.”

On the other hand, I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I regret that I didn’t do this sooner. I regret all the wasted years.”

Don’t let that happen to you.

After trying everything the world had to offer, King Solomon summed up his experience by saying, “Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NLT).

Solomon was saying, “Listen to a seasoned pro. I know what I’m talking about here. If you leave God out of the picture, then your life will be empty, meaningless, and futile. But if you want to live a life that is full, a life of purpose, then here it is: fear God and obey His commands.”

That’s what will keep you on track with God’s plan for your life. Fear God and obey His commands.

However, a lot of us don’t like commands. We see them as restrictive. But if we want to live a life that is full, we must recognize there is structure, there are parameters, and there are absolutes.

It would be like someone saying, “I don’t like traffic laws. I’m not into stoplights. And I don’t like those dotted lines down the road. They really bug me. I’m going to drive wherever I want to drive and go wherever I want to go. I want my freedom.”

Instead, what they’ll get is the freedom to have an accident. They’d better stay in their lane and hope the other drivers do so as well. Those lanes and traffic laws are there for our protection. They exist so that we can go where we need to go.

We might look at the commandments of God and think they’re ruining our lives. But God didn’t give us His commands to make our lives miserable. Rather, they are walls and barriers of protection to keep evil out. That is what Solomon was saying. It’s for our own good.

Yes, the Bible does say that we shouldn’t do certain things. The Bible does tell us to stay away from particular things. But when it tells us not to do something, it also tells us to do something else instead.

For example, the Bible says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life” (Ephesians 5:18 NLT). There is the don’t.

It goes on to say, “Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts” (verses 18–19 NLT). There is the do.

God’s plan is always better. Yes, He tells us what we should avoid. But it is for our own good.

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