Proverbs 3, continued. Because sometimes, there can be more than one post.
The first few verses of the chapter give you a way by which you can gain God’s favour, and come on, who doesn’t want that? It’s really quite simple:
Keep the commandments of God in your heart.
What commandments you wonder? Christ simplified them thus:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul with all your might and love all mankind as you would yourself.
Actually, those are the words to a well-known chorus (in my circles anyway :-p). The scripture goes like so:
Matthew 22: 39-40
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
When you have hidden the greatest commandment in your heart, when you abide by it and by the second one which Jesus said is very like the first, you won’t (you shouldn’t) have any trouble finding favour with the Lord. All your actions will be judged by you against this standard: is this loving toward God? Is this loving toward the next person? If not, don’t do it, don’t say it, run away from it. Things really are quite that simple. It’s amazing how much simpler our lives would be if we just took instruction, which is wisdom, and, you guessed it, feared the Lord.
Whatever issue you struggle with, if you can honestly and without equivocation answer yes to both those questions then you’re pretty much safe.
Want to gossip about your colleague?
Should you loan your neighbour that money?
Should you go on that date?
Truly, if the action is not unloving, then go for it.
*whispering* the second might be tricky: loaning someone money that they can’t pay back will grow resentment between you and them -not a loving action. Loaning money you can’t afford to loan will do the same. Again, not a loving action. In fact, the bible says we are not to loan money but to give it. If you can’t afford to give the money (and you’ve prayed for guidance), then don’t. Yes, it’s that simple.
Too often we complicate our lives by worrying about how people will react to us and our actions, instead of fearing God more than we fear public opinion. We complicate things by taking matters into our own hands, instead of following His commandments, acknowledging His will and trusting God, no matter what we see, think or feel. These are not easy things but if they were then we wouldn’t require faith now would we? We wouldn’t need a blueprint for right living, we wouldn’t need it all laid out for us in black and white. God knew that we would struggle and doubt and fear and so He gave us the Bible. Read it, know it, hide it in your heart, and live by it. End of story.