There are many things I’ve learned in the months since becoming a father: Babies can pull hair as hard as anyone I know, there’s nothing better than a laughing baby, and don’t play bouncing games after baby just ate. That last one shows the cause/effect relationship that we find in life; if you bounce the baby after he ate, prepare to perform a wardrobe change.
But cause and effect isn’t always about what happens now. I’ve got to think of the distant future in my choices today. For example, it would be easy to sit down with the baby in front of the TV every time he cries…because it calms him down. Problem solved, right!? But I know that I want to put off the addicting quality that TV has for a while longer, so instead, we resort to rocking, bouncing, etc…
Prudence teaches us to think of the future in our decisions today and to go past the immediate for a long term look. A prudent life is big in the book of Proverbs. In fact the fear of the Lord in Proverbs 1:1-7 leads to wisdom, and a prudent life.
It’s not something we are born with. You may hear many parents ask their teens if they thought about the outcome before they made the decision (at least my parents asked me that!), and the answer is no…because prudence is still being acquired.
So when I read the rhetorical questions of Proverbs 6:27-28 this week…I was reminded of prudence.
“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?”
The obvious answer is no. And while the immediate context deals with sexual sin, I can’t help but widen the implication to sin and our choices in general. Proverbs provides a great metaphor here for the pain caused by poor choices and sin, which leads to the reality of destructive consequences.
Of course we know that our actions have outcomes and consequences, but often it’s easy to think of our situation as the exception. We won’t be hurt or cause pain by the offense we carry out...but the truth is, we will.
We get in trouble when we think we know best, giving the Designer of life a back seat in our decision making.
Instead, why don’t we trust Jesus, who said, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10b, The Message)
So how do you make choices? Do you make choices based on temporary gratification? Or do you live prudently, knowing your actions have long term effects?
Let’s seek to fear the Lord in the way Proverbs describes,
Posted on Thu, February 3, 2011
by Pastor Aaron Geist