SUMMERTIME! We played outside, barefoot, all day long. There were fields, woods, and bayous with damp dirt paths warn smooth by all our little feet. Sunlight filtered down through the canopy of trees.
But there was something else I remember about those summers full of fun and freedom: our field guides. You see, we lived in a warm, humid climate known for its many snakes, and so it was important that we be able to tell them apart, important that we be able to distinguish the harmless snakes from the poisonous.
Our parents made sure that when we went into the woods, we carried what we called our "snake book with us. If we came across a snake we didn't know, we would get out our field guide and--from a safe distance--look for the picture and description of what we saw. Most of the snakes we saw were not poisonous or dangerous. But if we found one that was, we knew we should take another path, and we would stay clear of that area for the rest of the day. Equipped with our field guides, we played safely in those w oods for many summers.
Just as when we were children and we learned to be watchful and alert while playing in the woods, I have found, as an adult, that being watchful and alert to distinguish between what is harmful or helpful in my thoughts has brought blessings untold. And I have found the Bible to be the perfect "field guide to help me do this. By turning to the Bible I have been helped to distinguish between good and evil in a variety of forms. And sometimes, because of the subtlety of evil, it would have been difficult t o tell the difference without the spiritual standard that the Bible offers!