Keeping Our Way Straight
Thoughts on life and ministry from Proverbs 3:1-12
“In all your ways, know Him.”
We have to know God so well that we recognize Him in every moment. How well do you know Him today? I am not asking how well you HAVE known Him. Do you know Him TODAY? How regularly are you opening your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit through Spiritual Disciplines? (For a fresh approach to spiritual disciplines, see the ebook on Amazon, Jim Wilson, Soul Shaping). When we recognize Him, we must “submit” (NIV) to what He is doing. This leads to a happy consequence for us…
“He will keep your ways straight.”
A straight path is the best path – no tripping, falling or getting lost. However, many times our paths do not seem straight. There are two reasons for this.
The first reason is the intentionality of God. Many times God ends things… a period of ministry, a time in a geographical location or a partnership with a group of people and leads us to new opportunities. These times seem like a hodgepodge of turns, exits, and entrances that do not make sense. However, from God’s point of view, He sees an arrow-straight course taking us exactly where He wants.
The second reason why our paths do not seem straight to us is that our sins and mistakes take us away from walking in the light of God’s wisdom. I have many times made foolish mistakes and allowed guilt to pull me away from the love of Christ. Other times I have sinned. Sometimes I have just been ignorant. The Christian who finds himself/herself in these situations can feel hopeless. But God’s grace does not leave us in a twisted mess…
“The one whom Yahweh loves, He will correct!”
God’s correction is an act of grace. In our twisted, fallen way of thinking, correction has a fearful connotation. Yet, the Lord’s correction is from a heart of love. We often relate correction to punishment. This is not accurate. Correction is the loving, difficult work of straightening out the crooked!
“Do not reject Yahweh’s discipline.”
Straightening the crooked areas in our lives is not easy. It is painful at times. God is in the business of transforming us into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). This is not a comfortable proposition! However, the Word of God is compassionate to those who hunger and thirst for its corrective work. “For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you” (Prov. 3:2). Listen to the king as he speaks to his sons, “Do not forget my teaching, and let your heart protect my commands” (Prov. 3:1). The Word of God will have its effect of teaching, rebuking, correcting and training those who listen (2 Tim 3:16).
Friend, if you find that life looks like a spaghetti bowl, don’t lose heart. Circumstances, mistakes, and even sins are not too powerful for the loving, correcting Hand of God.
“For the one whom Yahweh loves he will correct, even like a father who treats a son favorably.”
The majority of the translation and some of the exegesis is from:
Longman III, Tremper (2006-06-01). Proverbs (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms) (p. 129). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.