ODJ: Avoiding Ditches

February 6, 2017 

READ: 1 John 2:15-17 

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do (Joshua 1:7).

As we travel country roads observing fields and farms, my husband and I marvel at the beauty we see and also the potential dangers involved in driving down these lanes. On either side of the roads are deep ditches. I imagine their purpose is to drain the fields of water and keep the roadways from being flooded or washed away. If drivers should slide off the icy pavement into a ditch or for a splitsecond take their eyes off the road, however, it could prove to be fatal.

There can be ditches in life that aren’t as obvious but can prove to be even more deadly. Fortunately, we don’t need to fear these potential pits, for Scripture reveals that by following God in obedience we can avoid them (Joshua 1:7).

We’re to be “as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Wisdom demands we acknowledge that allowing ourselves to be distracted from Jesus’ way could leave us and others in spiritual, emotional, physical, or financial danger. Our distractions aren’t ours alone.

There are distractions or temptations common to all of us (1 Corinthians 10:13). In His explanation of the parable of the farmer scattering seed, Jesus names two of them, “worries of this life and the lure of wealth” (Matthew 13:22). The apostle John picks up on Jesus’ teaching and names these distractions as “a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions” (1 John 2:16).

We’re tempted throughout our Christian lives, not just at the outset. But by God’s power, we can resist the temptations of this world and please the One who promises “a rich and satisfying life” that lasts forever (John 10:10; 1 John 2:17).

—Marlena Graves

365-day plan: Exodus 7:1-14

Consider Isaiah 30:21. When we don’t know which way to go, we can be assured God will help us go straight without deviating to the right or left. 
Reflect on your life right now. What distractions are you facing? How can you lean into God and His wisdom and power in order to overcome them?