Proverbs 4:13: “Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.”
I remember one of the first times I went catfishing with my dad. It was late at night, and I’m sure we snuck into a place we didn’t have permission to fish. But that’s often where the fish are, so… After we got all the stink bait put on and the lines cast, dad gave me the option of holding onto the pole or using a rod holder. I was getting tired, so I opted for the rod holder. He instructed me on how to place the rod so it wouldn’t get lost. In typical Scott fashion, I only listened to half of the instructions. I misplaced the rod and didn’t open the bail—meaning that if a fish took the bait and swam off, the line would tighten, and the rod would disappear into the lake—which is precisely what happened. Luckily for me, dad was paying attention and caught the rod right before it went underwater. I can’t remember if we caught anything that night, but I learned something about listening to my dad, even if it would take years to appreciate his directions fully. When it comes to the instructions in the Word of God, we must take hold of them, not let go, and guard them. We do this by reading the Bible, studying and meditating on it, sitting under biblical teaching from a local church pastor, and living it out in a community of faith. If I had been sitting closer or listened (and obeyed) the instructions of my earthly father, we wouldn’t have almost lost a pole. Likewise, if you sit close to Jesus (the Bible calls this abiding), listen, obey, and guard God’s Word, you will experience a full life. Let’s make 2023 a year of experiencing the “key to life” freshly and fully.