It’s amazing the way our minds can justify our actions. I remember my grandmother telling me as a boy “Just one plum”, as I headed toward her pantry. In my mind I reasoned, “They’re kind of small and besides, I’m helping her with the chores, and I need to keep my strength up.” I’ve never forgot that reasoning process because an hour later when I was bent over the toilet, sick as a dog, all that reasoning flooded into my mind again. It seemed harmless at the time, but wow ... the law of reciprocity can kick like a mule on the back end!
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.” I know, right now you might be advocating for the little boy who took an extra plum and saying, “Come on that’s a little bit of a harsh sentence.” Let me remind of you two things about God. First, Psalm 106:1 says, “He is good for His mercy endures forever.” Secondly, Isaiah 46:10 says that God is “Declaring the end and the result from the beginning.” So, when God says something leads to death, He is drawing the vector out from the point of the decision to a final destination. Part of His goodness and mercy is to warn of danger to come.
We tend to like, even love the idea of good intentions. Somehow if the intentions are good then we can justify just about any action. That has zero Biblical foundation, and the reason I’m telling this as bluntly as possible is because it’s a dangerous trap that allows deceit and subjective morality to grow in your heart. That, my friend, is a way that seems right to a person and ends in death.
Pam and I were just married and had moved to our new home in Nashville, Tennessee. We were busy putting our new life together which meant some late nights setting things in order. One evening I was up until about two in the morning putting a new bookshelf together and Pam had already gone to bed. So the next morning as I was sleeping in she decided to bless me by polishing all the hardwood floors, and we had a lot of beautiful, blonde hardwood. When I got up the next morning and walked out of our carpeted bedroom I stepped onto the hardwood and instantly noticed my feet were sticking. What is going on? Every step I took my slippers seemed to be sticking to this tacky surface.
Pam was all smiles and greeted me with a cheerful “What do you think?” I tried to be optimistic because I wasn’t feeling it. “Good morning ... so what’s going on with the floors?” She excitedly told me how that she wanted me just to rest because I was up late working, and so she thought, I should polish these floors for Stephen so he can wake up to nice, shiny hardwood. We didn’t have any floor polish or wax so she thought, what would be natural but shiny? Well of course, olive oil is the answer!
The whole first floor of our house, except for the carpeted bedroom, was covered in a thick layer of olive oil. Was it shiny? Oh yes, it was shiny! Was it a mess? Oh my goodness ... it took a professional floor cleaner, with a huge machine, hours to get our floors back. The guy told me later, “That had to be the most difficult cleaning job I’ve ever done in my life ... and these are brand new floors!” He was soaking wet with sweat and probably a little ticked off that he had not quoted me more for the job.
There is a way that seems right to a person. Pam and I laugh about the whole thing today. She kind of kicks herself for her lack of knowledge, and failure to ask for advice. It was an expensive lesson. What way are you on that seems right to you? I’ve seen people engage in unsanctioned mercy that has the form of grace but has no Biblical foundation. My grandmother used to call that letting the foxes in the henhouse. You may say, “Well I have a heart for foxes.” Jesus doesn’t, and are you better than Jesus? The Lord differentiates between His sheep, and the “devouring wolves”. Do you ‘seem’ to know much better?
Those who believe there are many ways to Truth, unfortunately live without Truth. Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by Me.” I’ve learned that my way is not His way. There are people who champion expressions like, “My way” and “My truth”, but it’s not Jesus’ Way or His Truth and therefore it leads to death. Don’t follow the way that seems to be right. Follow Jesus!
Dear Lord Jesus You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. That settles it for me. I’m not going to follow paths that seem to be right, but I’m going to walk the road of Wisdom You’ve prepared for me that leads to Life. Proverbs 13:15 tells us that the way of the sinner is hard. Why would I intentionally choose the hard path that leads to death? I choose life today Jesus! I choose blessing! God the Father honors me when I choose His Son Jesus. Today is a new day and I welcome your guidance Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name ... amen.
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