Things to Avoid for Our Own Good
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
The wise are cautious and avoid danger. (Proverbs 14:16, ESV)
Whenever my doctor prescribes a new medication one of the first things I ask—in addition to the best time to take it or does it work better on an empty stomach or with food—is “Is there anything I need to avoid? Any food that would keep it from working in my system as it is meant to?” If you take a statin for your cholesterol then you probably know you should avoid eating or drinking grapefruit. There are some medications that specify you should avoid being exposed to the sun or heat for extended periods of time. Knowing what to avoid can be just as important as knowing how or when to take a medication for it to be effective.
When we read the Bible, we learn that God gives detailed instructions about things we should avoid as we live life as His child. While we have many freedoms and God does not seek to pile on laws and restriction just to weigh us down spiritually, there are things, people, and behaviors we are warned to avoid and for our benefit now and in the long run. Some things God instructs us to avoid are:
People who cause divisions and create obstacles (Romans 16:17)
Becoming attached to material things; things in the world (I John 2:15-17)
Following doctrines that are contrary to the sound Word of God (I Timothy 6:3-5)
Being conformed to the ways of the world (Romans 12:2)
Living an idle life (2 Thessalonians 3:6)
Having an appearance of godliness but not being godly in our heart or private life (2 Timothy 3:5) As the apostle John wrote living in darkness but pretending to be people of light (I John 1:6)
Keeping company with foolish people (Proverbs 13:20)
Being prideful or haughty (Proverbs 16:18)
Trying to build or lay up treasures for ourselves on earth; kingdom building where it doesn’t count or matter (Matthew 6:19-20)
The devil counts on us not knowing what to avoid and hoping we will not be wary of these things or ways. Just like loving, caring earthly parents, when God warns us about things to avoid, He does so with our welfare and future in mind. Avoiding certain things or behaviors keeps us from being held captive by the enemy or becoming indebted to him in any way. Satan is sly with his traps and knows if he can lead us down a wrong path then he has captured us, at least for a time. We are wise when we learn what God says about what to avoid and ask for the Holy Spirit to assist and guide us through life’s pitfalls.
Praying Proverbs 14:16
Lord, I will not disregard Your wise warnings about the things I should avoid. Grant me the wisdom and spirit of obedience to take Your word of caution to heart and when necessary, increase my will to resist any pitfall or potential activity that will become my downfall. Amen
Ask God to show you anything you are devoted to that He has cautioned you to avoid.