Guardrails (Day 4)

We have taken a close look at how guardrails keep us from falling into the trap of letting a small problem turn into a larger problem. By looking at the narrative of King David letting laziness turn into pride which led to lust, adultery, deceit, and eventually murder we observed how quickly a little incident of weakness can snowball into a life changing catastrophe. We have all had moments (big and small) where we asked ourselves, “How did I get here?” The way we learned to keep away from those situations was to erect guardrails in our lives that keep us in check and warn us that we have a problem in the first place. If I had to sum it up in one Big Truth it would be:

Guardrails Protect Us from Ourselves

Just as a guardrail on a road can keep us from driving off the cliff and past the point of no return guardrails in our lives can keep a small problem from spiraling out of control into an event that fractures the foundation of our lives. If we do not have these in our lives we will surely be in for an eventual problem. However, the greatest danger to heading towards the guardrails in our lives is apathy. After all, guardrails on a road were not meant to be a first line of defense. Instead, they are there to be final solution before disaster.

The guardrails in our lives should be the same way. We should not rely on them to protect us; instead we must be on alert at all times to look for danger before it even happens. Keeping with our metaphor of driving on the interstate we must constantly be checking our mirrors for other cars, paying attention to our gauges, and not letting ourselves get distracted by small things such as the radio, phone calls, the thermostat, etc. Apathy in our lives is the same as getting distracted while being on the road. We spend so much time driving that we forget just how fast we are going.

Let’s continue to examine the life of King David. We have seen how he abused his position as king to get what he wanted. But why would he want those things in the first place? If anyone should be happy with their life it was King David. After all, a cursory reading of 1st & 2nd Samuel shows us how David grew up as a shepherd boy and worked hard to win battles that God gave him the victory for. We also see David being honored by others and anointed by God to be the king of Israel. Surely he would appreciate all the blessings he had and would not go after things that were not his?

To prove this point let’s examine a passage from 1 Samuel. I want you to take some time to read the whole chapter first. Got that taken care of? Awesome! So from this passage we see a much younger David before he was King. Now he is a military leader without much allegiance since Saul is trying to kill him. Instead, he and his men make their living protecting wealthy land owners or being basic mercenaries. During the course of events in this chapter David begins to observe, appreciate, and after the death of Nabal, marry Abigail.

This seems to be a perfect course of events where David and Abigail appreciate and possibly even fall in love with each other and the order of events in their lives allows them to consummate a marriage union. Here is a woman who was willing to intercede and tell David how things really were and protect him from murder. Isn’t that the same thing that he eventually did to Uriah? Where was Abigail later on to protect her husband from his own selfishness?

While the Bible does not explicitly say this, I feel that it is a valid conclusion that David eventually became apathetic towards his relationship with Abigail. Even though many people had multiple wives during this time period the Bible never paints a positive picture for polygamy. There are always negative consequences that stem from it. Here, I believe, David suffers from the Law of Diminishing Returns and is no longer satisfied with the wife (of wives) that he had. This apathy led him down the road of destruction.

How do we keep from falling into the same trap? We must learn to be thankful. Just like a good driver is constantly on the lookout for danger and pays attention to their gauges we must constantly be aware of the things in our lives and appreciate them. This is especially true with the people in our lives. We must be grateful for our friends and family otherwise we will become apathetic towards them and begin to look elsewhere for our satisfaction. Check out this proverb:

Proverbs 5:18 (NLT)

18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.

 

What would have happened if David or my friend would have followed this piece of wisdom? What if they had treasured and rejoiced in their wives and not looked elsewhere for pleasure? Many of the problems I have had in my life came from not being satisfied with what I had. I wanted more things so I went into debt to have them when I should have been happy with what I did have. I struggled with my eyes looking at things they shouldn’t because I was no longer satisfied with my own marriage. And on and on the examples could go.

How do we keep out of this trap? How do we drive safely in our lives and stay far away from the guardrails? The answer is thankfulness. Be thankful for what you do have instead of wishing for what you don’t. Instead of wishing for a body shape that isn’t yours, be thankful you are healthy and keep taking care of the body God has given you. Instead of going into debt to buy a newer car that you don’t need, be thankful that the car you have runs and keeps you from walking where you need to go.

Does that not spark your thankfulness? Here’s what to do then: if you struggle with a lust for stuff take a trip to an impoverished neighborhood. Begin to observe how life is for someone who has less than you have. If you have a problem seeking after a person outside of the bonds of marriage find someone who has let their marriage fall apart and begin to appreciate the mate God has given you. Whatever the struggle find someone who has let that problem destroy their life and then let your heart rejoice that God has given you so very much.

Apathy is the enemy of thankfulness. Apathy leads to a desire to find happiness in things that are not ours. I will testify that no matter how much stuff you have it will never be enough. People who walk away from godly relationships and marriages to seek after other people always find themselves in despair. Be a good driver and don’t become distracted. Enjoy your life with thankfulness for what God has given you and work to build the relationships you have so that you stay away from needing the guardrails you have placed in your life.

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