"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Hebrews 2:1).
What was I going to do? My son had studied all week long for this test, and if I accepted the way he had answered the questions, he would receive a score of 100%. However, there was one huge problem troubling my grading — he hadn't followed the directions. Although I had reminded him to read the instructions thoroughly, he had written his response in the blank instead of circling the correct answer. So, what was more important? Did it matter more that he knew the answers or that he had failed to follow the directions?
After praying, I decided to let my son be his own judge. Surprisingly, he was tougher on himself than I would have been and said, "Mom, it wouldn't be fair for me to get an A on this test." Together, we decided he should be penalized by receiving one grade lower for his failure to pay attention to the directions.
Not following the directions usually has a more severe consequence in real life. That fact was first discovered by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. When dealing with a Holy God, you simply can't skip over important details in His directions like don't eat from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:17). Today, Christians continue to skip God's commandments when they feel they restrict their way of life. Thinking they're able to do God's will their own way, they fail God's test because they don't follow His directions.
Is your life one that reflects God's divine instructions from His Word? Do you skip over those passages that test your character like "wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22) and "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world" (1 John 2:15a)? God doesn't give instructions to make your life more difficult. He gives directions because He loves you and wants you to succeed in living for Him. Choose today to follow His direction in those areas you've been avoiding and receive His grade of "well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21)!
Lord, forgive me for thinking I can ignore Your directions and not suffer as a result. Cleanse my life today of those things that shame Your name and help me to walk in a manner worthy of Your love. In the name of Jesus, Amen.