Do Nots Don’t Just Happen

“Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
    and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
for I give you good precepts;
    do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
    tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me and said to me,
‘Let your heart hold fast my words;
    keep my commandments, and live.
Get wisdom; get insight;
    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
    love her, and she will guard you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get insight.
Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
    she will honor you if you embrace her.
She will place on your head a graceful garland;
    she will bestow on you a beautiful crown…’

“Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
    guard her, for she is your life.
Do not enter the path of the wicked,
    and do not walk in the way of the evil.
Avoid it; do not go on it;
    turn away from it and pass on…

“My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
Let them not escape from your sight;
    keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
    and healing to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for from it flow the springs of life…
Let your eyes look directly forward,
    and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
    then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
    turn your foot away from evil.” Proverbs 4:1-9,13-15,20-23,25-27

Turning from the world’s pull to walk in God’s paths isn’t the norm. Thinking and responding biblically doesn’t come naturally to the flesh. Righteousness doesn’t just happen. The only way to make all these a practice and rhythm of life is deliberate implementation of some do nots by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In present culture, a myriad of ideas, sensory input, and entertaining activities allure both mind and emotion. They present stumbling blocks and distractions that trip us along and detour us off God’s path. It’s vital we not forget or forsake God’s admonitions when facing and filtering through everyday choices. We must not turn away from God’s word nor let go of its tether to our decision making, for they are our only deterrent from taking the first step to enter the path of the wicked. We must beware inclining toward evil, and rather incline our ears to truth. (Proverbs 4:12,19,24)

Is there an area of our thought-life, work, or personal habits where impulses or passions have swerved us to the right or the left and taken our eyes off the Lord? Does how we spend our time and resources prove we esteem wisdom and insight, or the world’s cheap promises? What areas or activities, conversations or companions, should I be avoiding in order to stay attentive to the Lord and to guard my heart as life’s wellspring?

Lord, fix my gaze aright and give me courage not to do anything that detracts from pure devotion to You or diminishes the reflection of your glory.

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