IMAGINE for a moment that you are driving down a country road. Suddenly, up ahead you see a sign that says, "BRIDGE OUT. DETOUR." Would you ignore the sign and continue driving? Of course not. You'd realize that the sign was for your safety, and you'd obediently follow the detour signs.
Wouldn't it be great if there were road signs for other parts of our life? For instance, one warning us when something we are about to do is dangerous. Or a sign telling us that the way we are looking at life is limiting our progress.
Well, there are such signs. The Bible is full of them. Perhaps the most famous are the Ten Commandments. Maybe you feel about the Ten Commandments the way a friend of mine did. "I just don't like all those 'thou shalt nots,' " she said. But what if we looked at those "thou shalt nots" as the warning signs set up to help us? The fact is, God didn't give the Israelites the Ten Commandments to make life difficult for them. He gave these rules to them because they sorely needed to know how to live together a s a society that worshiped the one God, divine Love. These laws don't limit us when we follow them. They keep us on the right road--they keep us from going off the bridge and into the river!
I remember one time one of the Ten Commandments helped me a great deal. It was the commandment that starts, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house" (Exodus 20:17). And that's exactly what I was doing. Actually, I was coveting all of my neighbors' houses! Whenever I took our toddler daughter out for a walk, I would look at the big houses around us. I wondered why these people got to live in such nice big homes while we lived in a little, cramped apartment. But one day I realized that I was coveting, that I was breaking a commandment.
I remembered what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, had to say in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures about Christ Jesus. Even though his obedience to God brought him face to face with crucifixion, "he swerved not, well knowing that to obey the divine order and trust God, saves retracing and traversing anew the path from sin to holiness" (p. 20). Obviously, my situation didn't compare to his! But this passage helped me see that it was important to my own
spiritual progress to obey God's laws.
I decided then and there to stop coveting. Every time I walked past one of these large houses, I thanked God that the family inside had a home. I also remembered to thank God for our own home. I acknowledged that God, Love, is always caring for every one of His children, our family included. Man cannot be separated from good, because he is the spiritual reflection of God--the very manifestation of divine good.
Something wonderful happened. First of all, my walks became a lot happier! Then we met our landlord while we were shopping. We had been told earlier that he had very few houses for rent. Still, it occurred to me to mention to him that we had outgrown our apartment but that we couldn't afford to pay much more rent. He asked us if we would like to rent a seven-room, two-story house for just a little more each month. He had just been asked to manage it, and he wanted a family he knew and trusted to live in it. I was grateful that my spiritual growth helped me qualify for his trust. We had some very happy years in that home.
By being obedient to that road sign, "Thou shalt not covet," I was not only saved from envying my neighbors, but was ready to recognize the spiritual truth that God is forever providing man with all good. The signs in the Bible show us the right way. All we have to do is follow the directions!