The Right Path
Today’s Text: Proverbs 14:12
21C LIVING: Realigning Your Moral Compass
Traffic jams are rare on two lane highways in the West. Yet, we were barely moving at walking speed with cars stretching as far as the eye could see. About half a mile ahead, I saw a road that intersected with the highway and then ran parallel to it.
There were no signs, but it appeared to be a detour. Taking a quick look at my map, I saw it was a local access road that traveled east for a few miles then turned south before terminating.
Suddenly, an old pickup truck throwing gravel and dust passed me on the shoulder turning onto the road ahead. A few seconds later, a car followed . . . followed by another and another as vehicles fell in line onto the local access road.
No doubt, because others tailed the pickup, many assumed it must be the right way to circumvent the delay. Without the guidance of a map, however, a limited perspective led them to a dead end.
PURSUING YOUR OWN WAY
King Solomon—the wisest man who ever lived—addressed the notion that you can find your own way in life’s journey without God’s guidance:
“There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.”
The Dead End of Ego-centric Arrogance
The first line in today’s text captures the essence of pride and defines the tragic outcome. Solomon is penetratingly honest, “There is a way that seems right to a man” (v. 12).
In this section of the book of Proverbs, Solomon’s overriding theme is the destructive nature of self-centered arrogance (vv. 8-15).
In brief words, Solomon describes the naiveté of individuals who are easily fooled by their physical senses. Things are not always as they appear. Laughter may be a cover for sorrow (vv. 10, 13). A large house is not necessarily a symbol of success; a tent is not always the sign of failure (v. 11). In short, determining direction in life based solely on appearances is foolish.
Antipathy towards biblical principles or the belief that God’s Word is irrelevant reflects an attitude that arrogantly leaves God out of the decision-making process. The underlying belief embraces the commonly accepted philosophy that asserts, What makes me happy is more important than God’s will.
Based on a false assessment of one’s circumstances, an egocentric view of life lacks moral clarity and is dangerously flawed.
The Dead End of Cultural Consensus
Man naturally seeks convenience. We often make decisions based on what takes less effort, what is popular or the consensus of current culture.
Crowds inevitably follow the loudest and most conspicuous voices—people obsessed with their own self-centered perspectives.
Mothers in every generation—including my own—have asked provocative questions like, “If your friends jump off a cliff, does that mean you have to?” And, that’s exactly the point. Popular culture is not a reliable source for wisdom.
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told a parable that illustrates Solomon’s point. Jesus addressed the destructive nature of capitulating to peer pressure versus choosing to follow the path to life:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mt. 7:13-14).
The wide gate opening onto the broad way is visually appealing with social consensus celebrating it as a “way that seems right.”
Although the most popular and the one with the most appeal, Jesus clearly revealed the path of the masses leads to the wrong destination.
The Dead End of a Naturalistic Worldview
Over the past century, popular culture has aggressively stifled the influence of a Judeo-Christian worldview.
The Bible has been prohibited as a resource for guidance in our educational institutions. Prayer in the public arena is frowned upon, if not banned outright. We need look no further than the First Lady’s recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at a recent rally in Florida to see the firestorm of angst her words created.
The diatribes on social media graphically demonstrate that popular culture is dedicated to a path that leaves God out of the reality of daily life. Biblical principles of morality have been denigrated and repudiated, while the most outrageous and illogical constructs are championed as paths to personal freedom from religious mores.
The Western world reaps moral chaos as a consequence of traveling down the wrong road to a dead end destination; yet there is hope!
Society can be led out of the current moral quagmire. People of faith with a biblically-based sense of moral clarity can help those in their sphere of influence find their way to the right path in life.
Your voice is crucial to realigning culture’s moral compass.
The Ultimate Source for Guidance
Begin by determining to internalize King Solomon’s guidance for living a fulfilled life:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.”
Rather than cowering in the shadows and apologizing for biblical principles, people of authentic biblical faith can help this generation recognize and follow the right path.
Live With Integrity
Take your personal journey with the Lord seriously. It’s common for people who have never stepped onto the path of life or who have left the right path to take aim at the failings and inadequacies of people that have disappointed them citing hypocrisy as an excuse for their behavior.
Paul’s admonition to the church at Thessalonica speaks loudly to professing Christians willing to listen today:
“Be at peace among yourselves . . . warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.
See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Th. 5:13-18).
Choose daily to be a vibrant example to help family, friends and coworkers see the value of walking on the right path, rather than the road leading to a tragic dead end. This is God’s will for navigating life in the 21st century!
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken authentically communicates biblical truth making his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) Compass by the Swedish manufacturer Silva. By Tobias R. Metoc (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Traffic near Midway Geyser Basin. By Yellowstone NPS, USA, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
3) Pavement Ends: Three Creek Road near Murphy’s Hot Springs, Idaho. By Famartin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
4) “Wrong Way” Signage in Arcadia National Park, Maine. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
Categories: Aligning Your Moral Compass