On a recent holiday I planned a day’s walk in the fells. I carefully followed the map, but thinking I was on the right path I didn’t see the need to use a compass. I was convinced I knew where I was. I crossed a stream where a footbridge was shown on the map, I followed the path on the map around the side of a hill, I crossed another stream and after quite a long time I found myself in front of a youth hostel which I knew was somewhere else and wasn’t supposed to be where I was! I was at least 2 miles off route but I hadn’t noticed. I had made one small mistake by following a signpost, hadn’t realised I was going in the wrong direction and had been happily walking the wrong way. Had I used a compass I would have realised early on that I was not on the right track.
The above verse might appear a bit blunt out of context, but sometimes we need wisdom to know when we are on the wrong path. A lot of the time there are obvious distinctions between right and wrong, but how much are we blinded by our own cultures and the ways of the world? I am convinced that we can be so immersed in our worldly thinking that we don’t even know when we are going wrong. So many things are “normal” in our society. We are unconsciously taken in by advertising, materialism, worldly mores rather than Godly mores, and so on. Even as Christians striving to follow God, there must be many times that we stray from God’s standards without even realising it.
How can we avoid this? If we use our compass – for example, by reading God’s Word; listening for the Holy Spirit speaking to us; and knowing something of God’s character and heart – then we will know where true north is, so to speak.
But all is not lost if we have strayed. God is always there to pick us up, restore us and put us on the right path, if we are willing. Even though we may have strayed badly, if we are ready to confess our sin to God He will forgive us for anything, no matter how bad, and restore us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are my way and my path. Please forgive me for the times when I have wandered away from your best for me. Please place me on the right path and help me to know what the true path is. Help me to discern right from wrong, truth from lies, and light from darkness. In Jesus’ Name. who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Amen.
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