I Did It My Way!
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” – Proverbs 14:12 NLT
There is a way that seems right to a man. There are choices in life that seem to make all the sense in the world – at the time. Each day we are faced with options to go one way or another. And as Christians, we have the choice to live our lives God’s way or our own. We can wisely follow His directions or foolishly choose to listen to our own counsel. And so often, our way seems like the right one. Everything seems to indicate that if we do what we want to do, it will all turn out for the best. But Solomon warns us that nothing could be farther from the truth. All throughout the Proverbs, he has been contrasting wisdom and folly. He has been showing us the difference between living a life according to God’s terms or our own. The fool is that individual who has determined that his way is best. He rejects direction and despises discipline. He never seeks counsel, or if he does, he ignores it and listens to his own advice. But living our lives apart from the wisdom of God never turns out well. That way is never the right way. No matter how good it may look or profitable it may appear to be. Yet just think how often we choose our way over God’s. For most of us it’s a daily occurance. It could be something as simple as what we watch on TV. Do we stop and consider whether or not the show we are about to watch is something God would find redeeming and profitable for promoting righteousness in our lives? No, we watch it because we think it’s entertaining. It will make us laugh. It will distract us from the cares of the day. It brings us pleasure. So it MUST be good. Our way seems right to us. Maybe it’s the choice to sit and watch 2-3 hours of sports on TV after a hard day at the office, rather than interact with our wife or children. Do we check with God? Do we ask Him what would be best? Or do we go with our own will in the matter, determining that we deserve a break. We give and give all day long, now it’s our turn to kick back and relax.
From our choices in friends to the way we dress, how we use our time to the way we treat others, if we’re not careful, we could end up living our lives our way and choosing the wrong way. And Solomon says that way does not end well. According to Solomon, the wise person seeks counsel, asks for wisdom, considers his steps carefully, deliberates before he decides, considers the will of God and tries to follow it. This doesn’t mean that the foolish person is miserable and never enjoys life. No, when they live life on their own terms, they actually seem to benefit from their choices. Solomon even admits it. “Foolishness brings joy to those who have no sense…” But then he reminds us that in spite of this, “a sensible person stays on the right path” (Proverbs 15:21 NLT). The wise person doesn’t look at the short-term gain, but the long-term rewards. In the end, the life of the fool is a dangerous pursuit. It ends in death and destruction. The life of the wise or the righteous ends in life. It reminds me of the Israelites wandering through the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land. All throughout that journey, they wanted to stop, turn around, go home, or basically, live life on their own terms. They complained about everything. They were driven by their desires and gave in to them. They were looking for short-term fixes and quick solutions. But God was attempting to lead them to a place of promise. He had something far greater in store for them. He wanted to bless them, but they kept coming up with ways that seemed right to them. But as Solomon warns, their way was going to lead to destruction. Their lack of fear for God and refusal to follow His leading would end up in their deaths in the wilderness. When they arrived at the boundaries of the Promised Land, they refused to go in because they didn’t trust God to deliver them from the people who occupied the land. They feared and chose to go with their own way instead of God’s. And every one of them would spend the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness, dying off one at a time, never seeing the land that God had promised.
Could you be missing out on the promises of God? Could your stubborn will be standing in the way of God’s blessings for your life? Choose wisely and choose well. Listen to His voice and choose His path. You won’t be disappointed. “The path of the wise leads to life above…” (Proverbs 15:24 NLT).
Father, forgive me for choosing my own way so often. I am so prone to go with the quick fix, the solution that seems to offer the most immediate benefits, rather than trusting You for what is best for my life. I have so many of the characteristics of the fool in my life. But I want to live the life of the wise. I want righteousness to characterize my life. Give me the strength to seek Your path and stay on it – for the long haul. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men