Children have rules: hold a grown-up's hand when crossing the road, don't talk to strangers, finish homework before playtime, wash your hands before you eat, and clean your room.
As children grow and mature, new rules are set in place: be home by your designated curfew, no dating before age sixteen, pass a driving test before obtaining your license, and text your parents to let them know where you are.
Even adults have rules: file your taxes by April 15th, stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, call your boss if you're going to be late, don't swim in shark infested waters, put the toilet seat down (I just had to throw that one in)!
These rules teach us responsibility, discipline, hygeine, and safety. If the rules are broken, there are consequences. If homework isn't done, grades will suffer. If curfew is not kept, punishment might mean staying home for a few nights. If taxes aren't filed on time, penalties and interest are accrued. And if the toilet seat isn't down, well...you know what happens.
If rules - instructions for our own good and those around us - are broken, we risk heartache, illness, injury, and (in some cases) death. One well known rule (law) is to not drink and drive. Yet how often has this rule been broken only to result in a serious or fatal car accident?
As Christians, we have rules too. They're clearly spelled out for us in God's Word just as a sign lists a swimmer's rules, a new employee's handbook describes company policies and procedures, or a driver's manual provides safe driving instructions.
The book of Proverbs is like a list of rules - what we should and should't do. It guides us in the way in which we should live.
Proverbs starts like this:
Do you see the key words? Wisdom. Instruction. Understanding. Knowledge. Discretion. And those who choose to break the rules are fools.
Teachers and students practice safety by having fire drills. Students are taught to FOLLOW the teacher, remain CALM, and form a STRAIGHT line. If they do not abide by the rules (and PRACTICE them regularly), there's a good chance that in a real fire, chaos would ensue and someone could become trapped.
This fire drill example paints a very clear picture for me as to how important it is for us to FOLLOW our Teacher (Jesus), remain CALM (through prayer), and stay on the STRAIGHT and narrow path (by reading His Word - the "rules").
We have been given life's instruction manual. Proverbs is only one of the 66 books in the Bible. Let's read God's Word AND follow His instructions to become responsible, mature Christians.