“No!” and “Don’t!” are two words I catch myself saying to my son a lot more of in recent days. Since he started toddling and becoming more inquisitive and curious about things around him, Dorcas and I have found a growing need to be watchful of his every move – from where he ventures, to what he touches and chooses to put in his mouth. Tiny non-ingestible objects, the electric power socket, a hot iron, wet floor, lying on a raised bed, a fragile display piece on the cabinet, etc.
By themselves, these things and scenarios pose little to no risk to adults, but they do to young children who’re unaware of the dangers. Little ones behave as if the world and all that is in it is a sensory playground with no limits to touching, tasting and trusting. On self-reflection, we adults too behave that way don’t we? We do that not out of ignorance but defiance and self-assertion of our rights. Let’s transport ourselves back to the Garden of Eden for a moment. God’s clear instructions to our first couple in Genesis was that they were free to eat from ANY tree in the garden EXCEPT the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The consequence was certain death – “for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” God had spoken to Adam and warned him but heed, he did not.
It’s likely you and I won’t hear the audible urgent voice of God calling out to us “No!” or “Don’t!” when we’re just about to perform a hasty act or jump into making a rash decision. But as a new father learning to be a better one, I expect He would…and He has! Our loving Heavenly Father loves us far too deeply not to want to say anything, much less do something. He didn’t just speak instructions to us to protect us, His immense love for us drove His Son to agony and self-sacrifice at Calvary. We may not hear God speaking to us like our earthly parents would, but His instructions are far more precious than to remain as audio content and fleeting. They’re captured as commandments and reinforced in real-life stories in His Holy Word to keep us safe, to keep us from unnecessary suffering and on the straight and narrow road. For at the end of it is the promise of eternal life and union with Christ in the eternal Heavenly Kingdom.
God has shouted His warnings to us. Are we hearing them? May I encourage us to sharpen our senses and tune in to His Word, the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of His saints. These will keep us from carelessly exerting our self-righteous impulsive will and giving in to the serpent’s deceptive suggestions, to which we can say “No!” and “Don’t!” because we’re on the right frequency with God in all matters of this life.
By brother Stanley Leong