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Reflections: Be careful! Warning for those who we love

How many times have you said, “Be careful,” to a family member as they headed out on a trip, climbed a ladder or even just crossed the street? Toddlers might rebel at the restriction, teenagers might roll their eyes and even adults might be irritated if they feel it is an unwarranted warning. While some might be prone to worry too much, we likely agree that we say this phrase because we love others and want them to be safe.

God also tells us to be careful about many things; and He does so because He, too, loves us. Below are some things He wants us to be careful of as we live in a growing relationship with Him.

In Deuteronomy, a rule is described in which debts to fellow Israelites are to be forgiven every 7 years. It might seem like an unfair law, but, fair or not, the law warned the people to follow this faithfully and not be greedy when the time came to forgive the loan. In this time it was a matter of obedience to the Lord, not just the law. “Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: ‘The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near.’ So that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.'”(Deuteronomy 15:9 NIV).

Second, in Bible times, and even today, there is a tendency to try to look more religious than we really are. Only God knows our hearts but Jesus warned us: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven,” (Matthew 6:1 NIV).

Third, the 10 Commandments were set out by God to give us a pattern upon which we can build our daily lives. Those commandments come with a wonderful promise. “Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord your God,” (Deuteronomy 12:28 NIV).

Fourth, when Paul was writing to the Corinthians, he referred to the fact that he, Paul, had started their church in that area and that a man named Apollos had continued encouraging the growth of the church. Paul went on to warn the current church to continue building the church with love and care. This is not just for the leaders but for everyone who is part of the body. “God in His kindness, has taught me how to be an expert builder. I have laid the foundation and Apollos has built on it. But he who builds on the foundation must be very careful,” (I Corinthians 3:10 TLB). When this command was followed, the church would grow and thrive. Let’s apply that to our church relationships today.

Generally speaking, then, it is important that we watch how we live – be it in finances, daily obedience to God, living in humility and in caring for others within the body of Christ. “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil,” (Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV).

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