'Sun' and 'damage.' Two words that I don't normally think of in the same sentence. After all, I love being outside on bright sunny days. And doesn't a tan look healthy? Damage from the effects of the sun on my skin is the farthest thing from my mind. But a trip to the dermatologist put some things into perspective for me.
A mole that I've had for years was the subject in question. The dermatologist referred to it as 'atypical.' That didn't sound too good! I was reminded of all the times I had been out in the sun, sans sunscreen - from my teenage years into my twenties. Okay, I have to admit that even as recently as this summer, I've worked out in the yard minus the sunscreen, a time or two.
I think back to my high school days, when I spent hours in the sun before heading off to work. I can still see my Dad shaking his head and hear him saying, "You're doing it to your skin again!" But at seventeen, with not a wrinkle in sight, all I was interested in was a deep, dark tan. I was willing to ignore the posters that warned, "Fry now...pay later!"
Looking back, I would have been wise to heed his words of wisdom. Properly applying sunscreen and limiting my exposure to the sun would have minimized the pigment spots, moles, and fine lines and wrinkles. But instead of listening to his advice, I chose to do things my way - learning by experience.
We really DO learn by one method or the other. Either we listen to wise advise and act on it. Or we choose to ignore counsel and attend the School of Hard Knocks. I'm reminded of the instructions God gave the children of Israel.
He had reviewed the commandments with them and proceeded to give them a list of all the blessings they'd receive IF they obeyed His directions. Then He outlined an ominous list of curses that would plague them if they chose to disobey. Much the same thing we do with our own children. Outlining the good that comes from obedience, and the consequences that result from disobedience.
I'm sure you're familiar with the story of the Israelites. At times they obeyed God whole-heartedly - for awhile. But by and large, they drifted back to their sinful ways or those of the surrounding cultures. Before I simply write them off as a stubborn and rebellious lot, I need to take a look at my own life.
Do I have a teachable spirit? Am I willing to take God at His word and believe Him? Do I believe His Word is the truth? If the answer is 'Yes' to each of these questions, then I need to live like it. I need to give God top priority in my life. I'm to, "...love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might," (Deuteronomy 6:5; KJV). When I obey, His blessings follow. When I put myself first, I follow in the footsteps of the prideful and end up in a mess. "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall," (Proverbs 16:18).
God created me with free will. I can choose my method of learning. The Bible is filled with wisdom and the right way to handle all kinds of situations. Will I choose to believe the truth of God's Word and live according to it, or will I go my own way, and ignore instruction? Today I choose to listen to God's instruction.
Do you listen to godly counsel or have to learn things the hard way? Accept counsel from the Word of God, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you, " (James 4:7-8a).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your instruction manual, the Bible. Forgive me for the times that I'm stubborn and go my own way in spite of being warned. Help me to have a teachable spirit and to be willing to learn from godly counsel. In Jesus' name, Amen.
*A repost from June 2011.
*A repost from June 2011.
*I'm hosting over at Living by Grace today. Come join in the discussion!