The other day I was coming home from dinner with friends. At one of the 4-way stops there was a wide bike lane. Having come from living in California, I used CA bike lane laws and moved over to the far right to make a right turn. This meant moving into the bike lane. The next thing I knew my friends were shaking their fingers at me. Now, these are good friends, and I know they didn’t mean it in a bad way. They were letting me know that what I did was not correct in OR.
Once I got home I saw they had sent me a text message. They were kind enough to let me know that Oregon bike lane laws are completely different from CA bike lane laws. In Oregon, if you are turning right, you move over to the right as far as you can without going into the bike lane.
At first I was upset and frustrated. No one likes to be corrected. It isn’t fun. However, my friends were letting me know because they care about me and don’t want me to get a ticket.
God is the same way. He loves us. He gave us His word in the form of the Bible so we could know His ways for living our life in accordance with what pleases Him. But, we have to know those ways.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. ~ James 1:22
In any state we are provided rules of the road by the government, even though many of us don’t read into the specifics. By not reading into the specifics and assuming a law in one state is the same in another can get us a ticket, or maybe only a warning if the policeman is lenient.
The only way we can truly know God’s ways is to read the Bible and keep His word close to our hearts. And, God tells us exactly how to do that.
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. ~ Joshua 1:8
When we don’t know, or know and choose not to follow, God’s word, there are consequences. Because God gave us free will we get to make our own decisions. If we choose to go our way rather than His we could find ourselves in trouble and thus have to face the consequences of our decisions.
It may not always seem like there are consequences to our actions when we go our way rather than God’s. There are plenty of people who do what they want and are living lives that most of us only dream about or they live the life they want versus doing what they know God wants. Thus, it looks like there are no consequences. However, there will be consequences. Consequences can occur anytime. Some see consequences come about quickly and some will not know the consequence of their choices and actions until they are standing before God.
Thankfully I have friends that care enough about me to let me know when I am doing something that could have a bad outcome or consequence. So, there was no ticket for turning right from the bike lane and there won’t be in the future because I now know the law.
I am also grateful that God has given me His direction so I can stay out of trouble. That’s not to say I have never stumbled. I have stumbled and the correction is never pleasant.
You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! ~ Proverbs 5:12
The positive is that I know God loves me, loves us, enough to give that correction.
…because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. ~ Proverbs 3:12
His correction helps us grow, guides our paths, and protects us.