five minute friday: refrain
The word immediately stirs up regrets within me. What have I failed to refrain from, withhold from, keep my heart from? Scripture warns the reader, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
If we are guarding, keeping our hearts, then we must be refraining from that which is not life giving, that which does not offer the Living Water that fills those springs of life from where flows our heart. So where have I allowed distraction, disruption and disturbance to drive the car to sin for my own soul? From what have I failed to refrain? Thus regret.
Just below the surface of that regret, as I peek underneath to ponder the Truth that lies there quietly, I see that while regret might have its place; in as far as it leads me to repentance; as greater gift of regret is the door it unlocks. See, regret can lead to grace.
How so? In the abundance of grace that envelopes one who repents, the regrets become a do over. They call out for fresh starts and new mercies. A new day dawns, even in the middle of the day, when regret leads to repentance and the grace breaks forth to meet it like a heavy wave coming hard and fast towards the thirsty sand of a needy soul.
Refrain is the new door, the new start. Now the choice to refrain looms ahead again. Will I die to self? To flesh? To unholy wants? And will I choose this day to live to Christ?
Proverbs 4 elaborates in it’s warning of heart guarding with these words, “Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil” (Proverbs 4:24-27).
It could be said this way, refrain from ugly words, refrain from deviousness, refrain from distractions, refrain from thoughtless wandering. When we refrain from that which is not of the Lord and we chose to live intentionally, then the refrain of our days turns to praise as we gaze at the Face of the grace that is consuming us.
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