“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12
We live in a culture that is steeped with independence, where everyone is encouraged to “go your own way” (Fleetwood Mac, anyone?). But in a world where almost everything is deemed good, God is very clear that His way is different from the world’s way. Proverbs 14:12 tells us that while the ways of the world “appear to be right,” in the end, “[they lead] to death.”
Jesus says it himself in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
God is patient and wants everyone to repent and turn to him (2 Peter 3:10), but walking the path of the narrow gate isn’t easy. It requires us to forsake the ways of the world and follow God’s way for our life. When we choose to follow Christ, we begin our journey through the “narrow gate”, but this process is a life-long journey. We will be tempted to go our own way for our whole life.
The world might say cheat or lie to get ahead, but God calls us to be full of integrity and trustworthiness (Proverbs 12:22).
The world might say spend your life trying to be richer, thinner, prettier so that you will be loved, but God tells us that we are already loved (Jeremiah 31:3), wonderfully made (Psalm 139), and that while man might look at the outward appearance, what God really cares about is our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).
The world might say get angry, get even, and never let someone who has wronged you off the hook, but God calls us to forgive (Matthew 18:21-22).
The world’s ideas come at us like a constant stream of information, and it is our job to filter out the things of the world from the things of God. But how do we learn to go the right way? By reading God’s word, investing in godly community, and relying on the Holy Spirit.
One of the best gifts God has given us is His Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All scripture is breathed out by God and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” It makes me tear us reading this verse because I’m so moved by the fact that God did not leave us alone to “figure it out”, but instead supplied us with His very words and heart. Scripture gives us wisdom, insight, and clear ways to obey.
Along with scripture, God gives us community with fellow believers. Having godly people who love God and love you is a gift. When you are wrestling with sin or needing guidance, you can seek wise counsel (Proverbs 12:15). Traveling the narrow way is much easier when you have people to spur you on.
And while having Christian friends to walk with you is wonderful, the truth is that you are never alone. When you accept Christ, you are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, who Jesus says “will teach [us] all things and bring to [our] remembrance all that [Jesus] has said” (John 14:26).
Choosing to go God’s way instead of our own isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Take a moment to thank God for the gifts of His Word, community, and the Holy Spirit who help us on the journey.