James 4:8 | 2 Timothy 1:7 | Proverbs 22:3 | Isaiah 30:20-21

Wash your hands, you sinner!

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

James 4:8 NLT

If you have been somewhat traumatized by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, you are not alone. Countless people around the globe have been, to varying degrees. But you cannot stay locked up in your house forever.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

No matter how daunting the adversary, the Holy Spirit does not urge you to cower in fear. But you have to be safe and smart.

There is an old joke about a man caught in a flood zone. Along came a friend in a truck offering a ride to safety. The man politely refused, saying, “The Lord will help me.” Later, as the man climbed onto his porch railing, a family approached in a boat with room for him. “The Lord will help me,” he claimed as he waved them off. Before long, the man was standing on his roof, clinging to his chimney to keep from being washed away. A helicopter approached and dropped a rope ladder. “No, thanks. The Lord will help me,” he shouted to the pilot. Shortly after drowning, he found himself in Heaven. He asked why the Lord did not help him survive the flood. The reply: “We sent you a truck, a boat, and a helicopter. What more do you want?”

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Proverbs 22:3 NLT

Be the prudent person the proverb speaks of. Take precautions as you venture out, trusting the Lord.

You may have heard “There is a fine line between faith and foolishness.” This is true. This fine line is typically uncovered by prayer.

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:20-21 NIV

Do not be discouraged by all the difficulties that unfold. Turn your heart to God and learn to see his directions and hear his instruction. Take whatever precautions you need to when you see danger, and leave your fear behind. Be safe and smart, and trust in God to bring you through whatever happens.

Questions for Group Discussion

  • What do you think it means to be safe and smart?
  • How can we balance ‘being smart’ with entrusting our safety to God? Did you know that “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible?
  • Is there more to this discussion that has not yet been mentioned?

Application: Prior Planning

They say prior planning prevents poor performance. And let’s face it: alliteration is always fun.

Are you planning something a little outside of your comfort bubble? Here is a simple game plan to help you be safe and smart as you go.

  • Write down your plans. 
    • Be specific: include dates, times, names, places–the whole itinerary.
    • Firm up/fill in as many of the specifics as can.
  • Pray about your plans.
    • Ask God to point out any areas that might need revision.
    • Be prepared to scrap your plans and/or start over if necessary.
  • Make sure you have the support you need.
  • Take whatever precautions you need to, and put your plans into action.
  • Be prepared to improvise if things do not go as planned.
  • Keep praying as you go.