How do you think about God? What is He really like? What does he really want from us and for us? The best way to gain insight into these questions is by being a student of the Scriptures, through which God has chosen to reveal himself. Proverbs 4:11-12 says, “I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble.” When you walk in wisdom, you can avoid all kinds of obstacles and detours that are common features of the path of folly. There is a beautiful freedom that comes when you choose wisdom (Psalm 119:32).
Life is not found in ignoring the limitations that God places on us, it is found in embracing them! He gives us rules and limits for our benefit. He is not trying to take something away, he is trying to give us something positive. Freedom and true joy in life are found in surrendering to God not in running from Him. Both David and Solomon talk about this idea that the words of God are the source of life (Proverbs 4:12-13). David says “God’s words” are like honey. They are sweet to the taste, and when you walk in them, a whole new world opens up. A life of peace, purpose and wisdom.
Solomon goes on to say in verse 14, “Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not proceed in the way of evil men.” In other words, we have options. We can always go the way of the fool. We can always reject wisdom. But please don’t do it! Don’t go that way! There is a wholeness that comes when we are obedient to the Word of God. The benefits aren’t just in eternity, they are for the here and now (v. 22). You begin to discover this beautiful kind of life as you live in rhythm with God. Your heart has everything to do with whether you are wise or foolish. People always want to know, “How do I change? A lot of things have gone awry in my life. I’ve got to make some changes.”
We need to ask ourselves some penetrating questions:
- What has my heart become attached to?
- What do I really want?
- What do I base my sense of worth upon?
- If I don’t get ______, I am miserable. Your answers may include things like acceptance, success, love, and so on.
These things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but when we value them more than we value pleasing God, they become idols. The problem is not that we want these things, the problem is that we want them too much. They become our goal, our hope, our purpose—and we’ll do almost anything to get them. Truth be told, we base our sense of worth upon attaining them. Our need for worth is so powerful, that whatever we base our identity on, whatever we feel like we must have, we essentially “deify.” It becomes our god.
What has your heart fallen in love with? What do you base your worth upon? Because the answer to those questions has everything to do with the path you will choose to walk down in life. Breaking free from our idols, whatever they are, is a three-step process: First, we must recognize that thing that “we want too much” is as an idol. Second, we must repent of our idolatry. Third, we must return to God as the sole object of our worship, identity, and worth. If anything besides God ends up on the throne of our hearts, we end up destined for the path of the fool. And we’ll never experience what we really want in life: joy, satisfaction, and a sense of peace.
Christianity is different from other religions. It doesn’t say that “desire” is bad or that longing for something is bad. It just calls us to examine the object of our desire. We tend to settle for far less than what God has designed us for. Becoming a Christian is essentially saying, “God, of all the things out there that I could attach my heart to, I see You as the most beautiful option. Only you are worthy of my worship and devotion.”
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- If you have allowed anything other than God to sit on the throne of your life I invite you, I urge you, to repent of that lesser god. Invite Jesus to be Lord of your life, and get off the path of foolishness and onto the path of wisdom.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)