WE DRAW close to God in faith, prayer, in the word and through our connection to the community as we continue our journey on this highway of wisdom, sharpening our ability to discern. Whatever we call good only becomes godly when the source is traced back to God. In this area of discerning, we need help from credible mentors, a hungry heart that desires to obey God, a clear path of understanding, because what we believe will determine how we will behave.
Those who are given the opportunity to wield spiritual influence carry a greater responsibility...James 3:1 says “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Who we allow to teach should be chosen with great care and prayer for it spews out life-changing or life-damaging influence. Each time you hear a religious restriction, treat it under the scrutiny of God’s word, guided by the Spirit, then without a doubt apply it. Believe me such discipline of discernment will guard you from abuse and lead you to the liberating truth of the scriptures.
Proverbs chapter 3:27-35 is a series of don’ts...actually Five don’ts to help us survive this complicated life. Biblical truth is truth taught by the bible...not just an incident recorded in the bible. If it is a teaching of the scripture, be firm, if not, be flexible. A word of caution...don’t rationalize. Don’t be firm if the command serves your purpose and don’t be flexible if it is otherwise. Judge and discern these wise don’ts in Proverbs 3:27-35 by activating discernment that comes from the Lord.
Don’t deny good things from those who deserve it (v.27)
This don’t implies that those good things you should give to others, technically, are no longer yours, like their salaries and benefits. The practicality of this restriction puts a defining principle; don’t deny good things that others deserve when it is in your power to help them. This does not restrict our rights...but helps us fight our own greed, deepening our relationships with others, doing a common good for all. Take it seriously and obey.
Don’t delay help (v.28)
“If you can help your neighbour now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow and I will help you’.” The word “if” is a great relief...no one is forced to help if you have no opportunity to help but a great responsibility to everyone who walks in wisdom to not delay help when you have the resources to do so. Always check your motives before the Lord.
Don’t plot harm against your neighbor (v.29)
There’s a practical insight here that reminds us that when the worst of times come, the ones we can trust the most are our neighbors. Don’t lose their trust by plotting harm against them. The assumption here is that relating with our neighbors is more profitable than making an enemy out of them.
Don’t pick a fight without reason (v.30)
“Don’t pick a fight without reason, when no one has done you harm”. The restriction is not against self-defense but being a bully and oppressing the defenseless.
Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways (v.31-37)
Abba, your lists of wise don’ts are for our protection... from evil and from ourselves. It restrains our impulsive hearts. Grant us grace to pay attention to them in detail. Grant us your abounding strength to apply them and a willing heart to obey. Grant us the wisdom to discern the difference from among man’s don’ts, religious don’ts, and God’s don’ts. Lord, hear our prayers. Thank you Lord for saving our souls through Christ our Lord ...Amen