How do we know we are on the righteous path?
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. Proverbs 4:18-19
I love this beautiful description of our right path…I can just see the first gleams of dawn. I can also imagine the darkness of the wicked way…it is with great sadness that I watch people stumble.
I can honestly say that I have felt the darkness of the wrong path, and it makes it that much more evident to my heart what is light. When you’ve walked in the world like I have…though, I wish I hadn’t…at least it makes me more grateful for all the light in my world now. And God can use it to increase my discernment. I have walked in extremes…I’ve seen the extremes of worldly darkness and I have also seen the darkness that consumes through the religious spirit. Both of those bring shame and unmistakable shadow. A darkness comes when the word is omitted…and a similar darkness comes when the word is perverted for man’s desires.
In the next few verses, we learn about how intently we should listen to God’s words…
My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth, keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:20-27
Perverse speech is huge in our world today…but God says, “No”. I know this won’t be popular and I also know that I’m not infallible in this practice, but we truly should avoid all the perverse talk that has pervaded our culture.
Life can be confusing. The church is full of fallible people, from the pastor to the door greeter and everyone in between…The only way to remain on God’s path is to fix our eyes on Him. He must remain our steady focus. And we must realize that we are the ones responsible for our own walk with God…not our pastor or anyone else.
When we focus only on being followers of Jesus, not followers of men…then we will know for certain, the way. Yes, church is good, and accountability is too, but nothing can substitute a real relationship with Jesus.
I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:2-3