Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths”
A safe course has been charted in this life for every born-again-believer who has placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and the risen Savior. My brethren, that course is found only in God’s precious and Eternal Word. It’s that narrow road spoken of by Jesus in the Scriptures. When we deviate or change course from that which He has charted for us, is when we get into all kinds of trouble. The psalmist knew this, and that’s why he prayed, “Oh send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me” (Psalm 43:3). God’s light and truth were his chart and his compass.
Sherwood Wirt, in his book entitled “A Thirst for God”, tells of serving briefly as the quartermaster of the Teal, an 80-foot patrol boat belonging to the Alaska Game Commission. He was at the helm when Captain Cole took over briefly and changed their course north toward Juneau. He pointed to the compass reading and told Wirt, “Steady as she goes!” As the ship cruised along, Wirt noted that they seemed to be edging toward the mainland, so he altered the course slightly and steered the Teal straight up the channel. In a few minutes, Captain Cole came on the bridge and snapped, “You’re off course! Go back to the reading I gave you.” Wirt said, “My dead reckoning had led me to believe one thing, but the chart indicated something else. Thus, by following my intuition might have led to the ship being wrecked.”
Lamentations 3:40 tell us, “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD.” One day Solomon was walking by a vineyard, when he noticed that it was overgrown with thorns and its wall was broken down. “I looked on it,” he wrote, “and received instruction” (Proverbs 24:32). He learned the necessity of constant attention, ambition, and discipline to keep the garden clean and fruitful. My brethren, it is the same with our spiritual lives. Today there are so many aspects that require our attention and discipline. If because of busyness or laziness we’re not careful, we will see some relationships crumble. The walls of our moral standard will develop holes. Little sins will creep in and become big ones. The nettles of iniquity will choke out the fruit of righteousness. The Bible is God’s chart for us to go by and His Spirit is our compass, and the Scriptures are clearly marked by life’s hazards that should be avoided. Likewise, the Bible has channels of safety we are to go by, and we must set our course and say with all confidence and assurance, “Steady as she goes.”
I’m also mindful of and we need to take to heart the words of the apostle Paul when he told Timothy to focus on the purpose of his life and ministry (2 Timothy 1:6-13; 2:1-2, 22-26; 3:14-17). Paul urged him to tell others about Christ and to warn them not to turn aside (4:1-5). My brethren, the values of this world can and will easily influence us, tempting us to despise “sound doctrine” and to accept that which is false. This is Satan’s domain in which we live. He is our adversary and wants us to get and stay off course, thus neglecting God’s Word, and the purpose for which each of us have been called. Maybe you’re at a time in your life, where you’re off course and have been neglecting the Lord, His Word, the church and fellowship with other brothers and sisters in the Lord. If so, get back on course and as Captain Cole said, “Steady as she goes.”
I like what Proverbs 3:5-6 has to say, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths. However, the Scriptures also warns every believer not to love the world nor the things of the world (1 John 2:15). We are also exhorted not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2). We are also told that the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Yet, are we watchful? The question which needs to be answered by each born-again believer in Christ is, “What are the currents that causes one to drift away from the truth and course God has charted for us? I submit to you that some of these areas of concern to a believer would be:
(1) The current of TIME in which we grow weary of doing good.
This was a concerned expressed in Galatians 6:9, “and let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”. As time passes by, we can gradually lose some of the passion of our devotion to serve Christ. We may begin to rest on our accomplishments, and cease pressing forward. However, Philippians 3:13-14 tell us, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
(2) The current of FAMILIARITY.
As we become familiar with the truth, it may seem commonplace to us and we may lose its sense of novelty or even take it for granted. Like the church of Ephesus, we may lose our first love Revelation 2:4.
(3) The current of SOCIETY.
The tides of modern opinion can easily deceive, influence, and induce us to drift away from the truth found in God’s Eternal Word. Every day we are bombarded by forces that could and will destroy us, if we allow them to. Some are internal, such as our pride and selfish desires. Many are external forces, such as secular humanism, false religions, ungodly media influences, the stresses of life, and family and friends who don’t support our faith. Because of these, it is difficult to maintain a true course if one is not firmly grounded in the Word that directs life, and such things can and will move the believer away from the simplicity and wisdom of our Lord (Romans 12:2). Living a God-honoring life in an evil world is not primarily a matter of the right outer location but of the right inner separation. We are living in a world that is hostile to our spiritual survival. The essence of the Lord Jesus’ prayer for His followers in John 17 was this: “Keep them in the world, but keep the world out of them.”
(4) The current of the FLESH.
Our warfare is not only without, but also within. 1 Peter 2:11, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Our flesh is constantly waging war against our souls, and against the Spirit who desires that, we follow Him. Galatians 5:16-17, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
(5) The current of DAILY CONCERNS.
The continuous pressure of our daily cares, pressures, and responsibilities can and will distract us for the purpose for which we have been called. Jesus warned against this on several occasions. Luke 8:14, “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” Luke 21:34, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with suffering, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”
(6) Lastly, and I think one of the biggest dangers of all, and one that is able to even make void the power of God’s precious Word. I’m talking about false church TRADITIONS … (traditions of men … practices and doctrines) that today’s church is filled with.
My brethren we know that Satan is doing all in his power to keep the unsaved from being delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13). Satan is the one who energizes the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2), blinds the minds of the unsaved lest the light of the Gospel reach them (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4), and holds the unconscious world in his arms (1 John 5:19). It is also revealed that Satan in his warfare will counterfeit the things of God, which undertaking will likewise be in accord with his purpose to be “like the most High.”
He will promote extensive religious systems (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15). In this connection it should be observed that Satan can promote forms of religion which are based on selected Bible texts, which elevate Christ as the leader, and which incorporate every phase of the Christian faith except one very important one; “the doctrine of salvation by grace alone on the ground of the shed blood of Christ.” Such satanic delusions are now in the world and multitudes are being deceived by them. Such false systems are always to be tested by the attitude they take toward the saving grace of God through the efficacious blood of Christ (Revelations 12:11).
Like a compass, the Bible always points you in the right direction.