“Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation.” Mark 14:34
We have all seen signs similar to WET PAINT — DO NOT TOUCH on park benches, walls and large objects or buildings. The signs are usually surrounded by more than one set of fingerprints. Some folks just don’t believe the sign is true and the object is really wet. Or, they simply defy the rule.
The result is always the same: sticky fingers and paint smudges on clothes.
The same thing happens to those of us who don’t listen carefully to God’s instructions. The instructions Brother Gearl shared from Jesus Sunday were as simple as Do Not Touch. “Go into the city,” for instance, and “One of you will betray me,” “You will all fall away,” and “Keep watch.”
God’s Word is full of short, simple instructions for us. Many of them are supported by the context: “…do not worry about your life,” (Matthew 6:25); “Do not judge, so that you will not be judged,” (Matthew 7:1); “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her,” (John 8:7).
God devoted the entire book of Proverbs to wise and simple-to-understand instructions.
Some of the fingerprints on the DO NOT TOUCH sign may be from small children who can’t yet read. They don’t understand because they can’t read.
The principle is similar for us: we don’t understand God’s instructions because we don’t read them, or we don’t believe them. Exhibiting the wisdom to trust God that His instructions are right and good and true is the first step we take, according to Brother Gearl’s teaching, to listening carefully to God’s instructions. And when we listen, and obey without question, we will cultivate a beautiful testimony to His faithfulness.
The “without question” part of the deal often gets in our way. We often get this wild notion that we can figure out the best way to handle things on our own. We listen with greater faithfulness to the ramblings of our flesh. We hear from God without explicit instructions and then tell ourselves, “That doesn’t make much sense to me.”
We touch the wet bench anyway. (We choose our own assessment over God’s instructions.) Then we get paint all over our hands and clothes.
But, if we set aside our own assessment, and listen to what God is saying to us — and follow His instructions — we will avoid getting wet paint on us. We’ll experience the affirmation that we are doing what God has asked us to do.
He will be glorified. And we will be blessed.