I love old maps, especially the ancient ones with a helpful warning in flowing medieval script, “Here be dragons.” Thankfully, enough explorers ignored the warnings and pressed on to discover the blessings that lay beyond the tattered edges of the map. But how many of us would ignore the notice on the hotel toilet tank: “Do not drink”?
Life is full of choices about which warnings to heed and which to ignore. Our decision to sail off the map depends on whether we believe in dragons or not. When it comes to drinking from a toilet cistern, most of us need no reminder that “Here be bacteria.”
The Bible charts out the Christian life. It is full of warnings and notices. I don’t just mean the Old Testament laws, though they are part of the picture. I’m talking about every instruction to refrain from sin, live a godly life, and grow in spiritual maturity.
Whenever the exhortative script catches our eye, we have to decide whether the chart is up to date and on which side of the warning we stand. Assuming that the instructions are current (and most of them are), are we being advised about danger or deprived of exciting and valuable treasures?
If we think that God’s instructions restrict our lives, we have been deceived; they actually point to blessings. Paul talks about life in Christ as being “under grace,” while slavery to sin is death.
Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Rom. 6:11-14)
Grace has opened up a completely new realm of life. The Christian should not see the instructions for the godly life as stifling limitations. Instead, God’s laws stand like a boundary marker that defines the edge of the “land of blessings” that God calls us to live in. Certainly, the wages of sin have kept pace with inflation, but the point is that grace in which we stand is vastly more precious than anything we give up. The warning is not so much about what lurks in the darkness as it is about what we would lose if we left the light. It’s like the difference between pure and putrid water.
Let’s celebrate the signs that point us to the blessings of righteousness.
Please share these Bible devotionals with others who might be blessed.