Proverbs 16: 17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their way preserve their lives.
Our youngest daughter went to her high school prom a few weeks ago. She and her boyfriend were looking forward to it for months, and since he is a senior, it was his last prom.
We found out the week of prom that some of the kids were planning an “after party”, being held at a private home once prom was over at 1am. Our daughter asked if she could go.
Now, we generally trust our daughter. She is not one to get into trouble, nor is her boyfriend. I know her boyfriend’s parents well, so we two dads chatted about this. We agreed that it would be better for the kids not to go. Are they good kids? Yes. Could they go and avoid trouble? Probably. But we also know being out that late, with minimal supervision, is not a safe place for kids.
Better to avoid temptation than be tested and fall into trouble.
Were the kids disappointed when we said “no”? Sure they were. That said, they went to prom and had a great time.
What we human beings need are “guardrails” in life.
In other words, we need boundaries that can help us avoid getting burned by temptation. And, of course, these kinds of boundaries are not just for kids. Right adults?
One of my personal temptations is to work too much. As a pastor, this is not hard to do. Examples are everywhere of clergy persons working seven days a week and burning out over time. And because it’s “God’s work”, it’s easy to rationalize a constant work schedule. Problem? We all need time off. Working until burnout doesn’t ultimately benefit the pastor or the congregation. Everyone loses.
There is a leader in our congregation named Jim. Jim is RELENTLESS in holding me accountable for taking time off. My days off are Friday and Saturday (yes, two days off, which is rare for a pastor). In fact, when I originally spoke to our leadership team about taking two days off a week, not only did they approve – they insisted!
Are there weeks when I don’t get both days off? Yes. And I hear about it from Jim. He is my guardian angel holding me accountable so I can be around for many years to come. And I love him for it.
Questions for today:
- Where are you currently being tempted?
- What would be the consequences of falling into this temptation?
- Do you have “guardrails” (accountability) to keep you from getting burned?
Lord Jesus, give us grace to respect temptation, not by giving into it, but by establishing solid boundaries – guardrails – to keep us safe from evil. We pray this in your holy name. Amen.