People go to the beach to relax and get away from the hassles of everyday living. We are no exception. But, on our most recent trip I realized that no matter where you go there is something that can hurt you or make you uncomfortable in this world. Knowing the hazards ahead of time helps prepare you for potential problems.
In order to enjoy your time in the sun you have to be prepared with ice chests full of bottled water, and umbrellas that don’t fall down with a sudden gust of wind. You have to stay away from areas with undertows and jellyfish, wear sun hats, sunglasses and beach shoes, and cover your body with a good sun block. It’s also important to get out of the sun during the hottest time of the day or you’ll shrivel up like burnt bacon in 20 minutes.
In the city you should know which areas to avoid traveling through, follow the rules of the road; and learn to fight your benevolent impulse to pick up hitch-hikers. Good intentions have gotten many of us in serious trouble. Especially after dark, it is not wise for a woman to go places alone. In the city it’s also a good idea to lock your cars and homes whether you are at home or not. You should carry a phone, choose a ‘safe’low-crime neighborhood with a nearby school for your kids, and be careful who you decide to invite into your home. Rape, murder, kidnapping, theft, motor accidents and bodily injury are common daily events in heavily populated cities.
In the country the same rules don’t apply as they do in metropolitan areas. As a rule, county folk use guns to hunt and defend themselves against attacks; they don’t use their guns to hurt innocent people. Yes, there are poisonous snakes and spiders hidden in the grass and in debris, but critters don’t hit you over the head or shoot you to steal your possessions. In the country, if you watch where you’re stepping, carry a big stick and wear boots and gloves when you need them, you’ll be alright.
Undertow! No swimming allowed. Don’t touch that. It’s hot! Look both ways before crossing the street! Wear gloves when handling cactus! These warnings probably originated from someone who learned the danger of these things the hard way. Pain is a great teacher, but it is far better to learn through someone else’s mistakes. We should heed the warnings if we don’t want to end up creating some signs of our own.
Submitting to God’s authority is no different, and of far greater importance. Our deadliest enemy is hidden from our eyes and this enemy is after our most precious commodity. The threat is not to our bodies; the threat is to our souls. God sees what is lurking in the darkness and hidden from our eyes and His objective is to keep us from danger. But, to remain safely under God’s protection and guidance we have to know the rules and follow them. All His rules for better living are summed up in the New Testament and boil down to two very simple things. If you don’t know what they are look up Mark 12:31, and Matthew 22:37.
God wants us to enjoy a long and prosperous life, to have good health and to be content. He wants us to love and trust Him with all our hearts so that we will obey and be blessed. Obeying God is not a burden we must bear. His rules are not restrictive because He wants to punish us or keep us from enjoying ourselves. Quite the contrary. Just as we love our children and set rules to keep them safe, God sets boundaries that designate the ‘safe’ areas we must stay within.
Rules and regulations were established to protect us. It is to our benefit to follow them. Most of us are more than willing to heed the warnings that will keep us from coming to harm. Those who choose to do otherwise will usually suffer the consequences. However, the choice is always ours. We are free to do anything we want, although not everything we choose to do is beneficial. It isn’t that we can’t disobey. It’s that we shouldn’t.