The foods we buy, the medicines we take, the appliances and other things we purchase all come complete with warning labels, whether FDA or otherwise. We can consider ourselves forewarned before we consume something or before we use a particular product. “Keep out of reach of children” is a common warning as is “discontinue use if . . . ” (you fill in the blank) From hair color to power tools, warnings abound about their proper use and potential pitfalls. If only we would read the fine print! (which I confess – in my haste, I often overlook the reading and the heeding of the properly printed warnings of possible problems that might occur with the foods or other products that I purchase)
So today I’m thinking, wouldn’t it be good if life came with warning labels? I mean, I never know what a day will bring and I too often find myself blindsided and unprepared. Maybe some warning labels, like road signs, but for my life, would come in handy. I’ve even thought of what some of those signs might say. See if you think any of these would be helpful.
Danger – failure to forgive may damage and/or cause the death of your relationships.
Beware – hatred is hazardous to your heart.
Look out for liars – they will lead you away from where you intended to go.
Proceed with extreme care – entering gossip and slander zone – much damage done here.
Caution – selfishness and greed may be harmful to your health.
Enter at your own risk – bullying practiced and protected here.
Cannot be held responsible for any outcomes occurring apart from prayer.
Danger – casting of stones may take place at any time without warning!
Travel advisory – (for the road of life) potholes and pitfalls may be more numerous than expected on this road and may be deeper than they appear to be, therefore more dangerous and capable of causing more damage than would otherwise be anticipated.
All of the above could be helpful signage along life’s highway. Too bad we don’t actually have those warnings and directions along our way. Oh, but we do, dear readers! We have all kinds of instruction, guidance, directions for how to proceed, including warnings, – everything we need to walk wisely in this world is available to you and to me. It is right there in God’s Word – the Bible. All we have to do is to open up the Book!
Within this Book, there is a book called Proverbs. This book is full of warnings and wisdom from beginning to end. Any of the instructions from Proverbs would make a good road sign. Proverbs gives us those directions and warnings we need in order to find our way through this life. I will share the content of a few of these road signs with you here, dear readers. (but seriously, the entire book of Proverbs is one giant warning label for life and road sign for this journey of ours)
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:23-27)
“My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life,” (Proverbs 6:20-23)
Isn’t that what we are all seeking – the way to life? And now we learn that these words, these road signs from God, are the light that we need in order to find our way. Psalm 119:105 proclaims,
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
Just what I want from a warning label or road sign, illumination so that I might see the way ahead more clearly. I need warning labels and road signs in my life to keep me safe precisely because –
“There is a way that seems right to a man (or to me) but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
I don’t know the beginning from the end like God does, so I need the warning labels that come with life, the warnings and directions that God gives to me in His Word. There is a warning in John 16:33 that is a particularly good road sign because it provides a head’s up for what’s coming (as any good road sign should do) and at the same time, it provides hope too. This hope comes in the form of a spoiler alert, as the sign tells me what’s coming and then tells me how it ends. This actually turns out to be a great source of comfort and encouragement as I continue down the road and don’t turn back. This is what the road sign says,
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
a head’s up followed by hope, just what is needed – indeed, God’s Word contains all the warnings, the wisdom, the hope, the encouragement and the guidance I need to stay on course. That’s why I think my favorite life warning label and road sign is this,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (or “He will direct your paths.”) (Proverbs 3:5-6)
That sign contains the warning – lean not to my understanding, the direction – trust God and in all things acknowledge Him, and the hope – God, Himself will lead me, direct my path and make it straight.
a head’s up, direction and hope – such are the warning labels and the road signs God provides for me and for you in His Word – hopefully I will take the time to read them and heed them!
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8)
“Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” (Psalm 25:4-5)
sincerely, Grace Day