We had walked for hours under the shadow of Mont Blanc. Feeling tired at the end of the day, we decided to take what seemed like a short cut which took us well off the marked path. This proved to be a disaster and involved quite a serious accident which ended our holiday. Short cuts and unmarked paths are not worth the risk. We made a foolish choice. God has a path of life for us to take and not a few people have made shipwreck of their lives by diverting from it.
The Book of Proverbs speaks about life’s paths and in particular about two contrasting ways. We walk the way of wisdom when God is the centre of our lives. We walk the way of foolishness when we put self at the centre, thinking we can use Him when we need Him. Foolishness is doing your own thing. The writer commends to us the paths which are marked by the fear of the Lord. This is a holy reverence and respect for Him and a holy fear of grieving Him, simply because we love Him.
When we fear the Lord, we accept God’s definition of right and wrong. Walking the way of wisdom, we are taught how to live lives that honour Him. It is by following His ways in a world that seems to have no absolutes of right and wrong.
The Proverbs are not so much promises we are given. They focus on how to live well in every season of life. Then we will pass wisdom on to our children, thus leaving them an inheritance that is life-giving. In Proverbs Chapter 4, which is a father’s advice to his son, we read that there are paths of wisdom to follow and paths of foolishness to avoid. We are urged to get wisdom at any cost, and not deviate from its paths.
One path is the straight path (Proverbs 4:11). On a straight path you can see the way ahead. It is clearly marked so it is not confusing and there are no deviations. We might say this path is the path of righteousness, right living, right relationships and no compromise with the world and its values.
Another path is the light path (Proverbs 4:18), lit by the brilliance of the sun. To walk this path means walking in the light with Jesus from whom nothing is hidden. His light exposes the secret sins, heart motives and ungodly reactions of which we are often unware. To walk the light path is sometimes a hard choice because it can mean dealing with the hidden darkness in our hearts. Light and darkness are absolutely incompatible.
So, ‘Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways’ (Proverbs 4:26). God cannot change, His ways never change, and His word gives careful detail on how to live in the power of the Spirit, to honour Jesus. Don’t be sidetracked by the world’s thinking.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and steadfastness. Please enable me by Your Spirit to know Your ways and walk Your paths today and every day in a world where You are not acknowledged. Give me grace to walk in wisdom as Jesus walked and to be a faithful witness to Him. Amen.
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