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It's a serious mistake to think of God's commandments as unpleasant restrictions that we have to put up with. Instead, we ought to consider that God never commands anything that is not for our good. God is our Friend. He know us inside out, and He loves us more than we can imagine. He wants the very best for us. And if He has ever asked us to say no to anything and yes to something else, it is only because He wants us to have the joy He has. He wants to help us stay away from anything that would interfere with the joy He created us to experience.
David said, "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward" (Psa. 19:7-11).
The trouble we have in seeing the goodness in God's commandments comes from our limited perspective. The only attraction sin has is that it offers pleasure in the short term. But if we could see, as God does, the long range consequences of our actions, we would easily realize the wisdom of His way. What we need to do is place our confidence in His perspective (Prov. 3:5,6).
How could we ever doubt the intentions of a God who would give the life of His Son as an atonement for our sins? As Paul wrote, "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32). Unlike the devil who is lying when says he wants what is good for us, God has given conclusive proof that He loves us. Even when the outward appearances of the moment seem to point the other direction, we can know that following God's instructions will lead us to good things. In this life, we are walking across a minefield laid by Satan. Let's have the good sense to trust a God who cares enough to say, "Step here" and "Don't step over there." In showing us the way, God knows what He is doing. We are smart if we follow His guidance.
Monday: Psalm 119:9-16,97-104
Key Idea: We should love God's laws, even when we are young.
Questions for Family Growth: Why do you think it is harder when we are young to see the wisdom and goodness of God's ways? What are some temptations that are especially strong when we are young? Does God know what it's like for us to be young?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 6:20-29.
Tuesday: Galatians 6:7-10
Key Idea: If we disobey God, we will be disappointed in the results we get.
Questions for Family Growth: When we disobey God, do things always work out as we think they will? What did Paul say about "sowing" and "reaping"? What do you think it means that "the way of the unfaithful is hard" (Prov. 13:15 NKJV).
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 6:30-35.
Wednesday: Genesis 22:1-19
Key Idea: Faith means trusting that God will work everything out for good.
Questions for Family Growth: In this story, do you think God's command made sense to Abraham? Why did he go ahead and obey God anyway? Hb. 11:17-19 says that it was "by faith" that Abraham offered up Isaac. What does this mean?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 7:1-5.
Thursday: Philippians 3:7-11
Key Idea: Whenever we have to say no to anything, God has something better for us.
Questions for Family Growth: Why did Paul say he was willing to give up all the things that he had left behind in order to be a Christian? What are some things we might have to sacrifice today in order to be faithful to Christ?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 7:6-27.
Friday: 1 Peter 3:8-12
Key Idea: Obeying God is the way to see "good days."
Questions for Family Growth: When do we get the full reward for obeying God? According to 1 Tim. 4:8, what two things does godliness have the promise of? If we seek to be with God in eternity, what kind of life will we have in this world? What are the "good days" Peter speaks of?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 8:1-11.