“God narrows our “shan’ts” to one explosive point. I don’t need to go that way, but God will have to bring me there if I persist in the little disobediences which no one knows but myself, because it is engendering in me a spirit God cannot allow.”
—Oswald Chambers, Run Today's Race, January 9
Reflections by Ryan:
My ribs were hurting. They were hurting because I was playing city league basketball with a bunch of loggers in Baker City, Oregon, whose elbows were just as hard and dangerous as the axe handles that they carried around in the beds of their pickups.
On a Sunday morning, after a particularly painful Saturday night game, I was bemoaning my aches and pains to some friends at church when one of the guys listening to my whining spoke up with what I consider to be an extremely profound and true statement. He was a crusty old cowboy from Eastern Oregon, who was unsympathetically amused with my case of sore ribs. With a smirk on his face, he reached out, poked me in the ribs and said, "If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough."
If you take a moment to think about it...he is right.
There are some choices that we all make in life that look good, seem pleasurable and appear harmless, yet ultimately, they end up being difficult, painful and costly in multiple ways.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12
If you want to continue down that path and persist in your own (dumb) way, go ahead, but you better be tough enough to weather the consequences of your choices.
God is a loving father who will do just about anything for His children, and He is one who hates to see His children learn lessons the hard way. He readily shows the way and He loves to see His children follow it. Through His Word, the Holy Spirit, the counsel of friends and His still small voice, God offers guidance, delineates boundaries and illumines the paths of His children. He does this by affirming the “shoulds” in life and by giving warnings via the “shan’ts” in life.
The “shoulds” in each of our lives are not so much about following the rules that are listed in the church manual or posted on the classroom wall, as they are about obedience—obedience to God. God says, “If you love me, you will obey me.”
The “shan’ts” on the other hand, are the little disobediences in life. They are those things in your heart and life that only you—and God—know about. The “shan’ts” are not so much about breaking rules as they are about breaking relationship with the one who loves you most.
To ignore, make light of, or disregard the “shan’ts” in life is to take part in a very dangerous activity. God loves each of us too much to allow us to continue down a path that will cause us great pain and that will serve to hinder our relationship with Him.
“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36
Jesus came to forgive our sins, redeem our hearts and restore our lives. The judging will come later. Are you dabbling in some “shan’ts” in your life? Are you disregarding some “shoulds”? Don’t wait around for a poke in the ribs. That is just too painful and dangerous. Heed God’s prodding and obey Him—now.
Anything less is just plain…dumb.
Run Today’s Race: A Word from Oswald Chambers for Every Day of the Year. Copyright © 1968 Oswald Chambers Publications Association Ltd.