I like a trim, neat, lawn that sports a luscious green carpet. A lawn like this can take a lot of work, so each year I reseed some areas, apply fertilizer to feed the lawn, and I treat it with a herbicide to control the weeds.
There are usually some places around the house where both grass and weeds are about as welcome as unwanted guests. To control their invasive growth, I spray them with an unhealthy dose of Roundup and they droop down and die.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires the manufacturers of these products to give clear directions concerning the correct mixture and application of these toxins. There is also a poison control label if you happen to ingest the product or get it in your eyes.
As Christians, we need to heed the EPA. In this case, EPA means: Exercise Prudence Always. The word prudence is a form of the Latin “prudentia,” and it carries the idea of “seeing ahead.” Prudence, therefore, is the ability to understand the ramifications of your actions and behavior and to impose appropriate self-discipline. Prudence allows you to manage the present so the future does not become a problem.
I don’t know about you, but I know I need prudence. I’ve come to realize that the only consistent thing about my life is my inconsistency. To manage inconsistency, a person needs a heavy dose of prudent self-discipline.
Paul listed some toxic behaviors that requires a person to Exercise Prudence Always:
• Colossians 3:5: Put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry
• Colossians 3:8: Put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth
• 2 Timothy 2:23: Reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels
Notice the strong language that Paul used as instructions for weed control: “ Put to death, put off, and reject.” Without these EPA guidelines, the weeds of life will rob your flower bed of its beauty; steal the nutrients from your garden; and, overrun your lawn.
When you Exercise Prudence Always, you need to do more than just get rid of the weeds. You also need to apply the right fertilizer. Here’s a mixture that will get you growing again: “Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:14-17).”
Your three letters for today are EPA—Exercise Prudence Always.