There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is the way to death. – Proverbs 14:12 ESV
I have always interpreted this to mean that when we ignore God’s ways and instead cling to our own that the results are personal and tragic loss, generally in the form of moral wickedness, sickness, financial ruin, psychological problems, and eventually physical and spiritual death. I still think this is the core meaning, but like most passages of scripture, there is layer upon layer of wisdom as we dig deeper. It seems no matter how often I return to a passage thinking I have already mined every precious nugget from those golden words, there is a new vein from which to extract some further insight from the Holy Spirit for application in my life.
So it is with these words as well – and at the moment they are very convicting to me, actually causing tears of repentance to flow as I begin to understand what I am risking, not only in my life but in the lives of others.
I share this because I wonder how many people are struggling with the same self-doubts and fears? How many know in their heart what they should do, yet there are crippling thoughts which cause them to remain silent and still? How many of us still adhere to our own ways that seem so right, and not God’s ways which are absolutely right because we are not trusting completely in His guidance?
I wish with all my heart that I could write inspired and anointed words declaring the righteousness and holiness I have attained in my walk with Christ, but the truth is I have very little of either. I am striving but far from arriving. So all I can write about with a clear spirit is the ongoing war between the light of Jesus and the inherent darkness which seeks to retain possession of my body and soul.
For reasons far beyond what I can cover in this single blog post (but will delve into more deeply in future writings) I have always struggled against my calling, giving far too much heed to every word of the enemy and to every imagining of my mind, easily finding a multitude of reasons why I cannot and should not bring the Word of the Lord to those around me. What credentials would allow me to speak on such things? I have never attended seminary. What church has appointed me a minister? What proof do I have of the revelations and insights I have been given? Who really cares about what I’m saying anyway?
Intellectually, I realize the most holy of men to ever walk this earth, except our Saviour, were far from worthy of their calling. But for such a thought to travel from the brain to the heart to become wisdom is often a long and arduous journey. In my mind, I know that God has always called the unqualified, esteeming their obedience more valuable than their talents. Yet my heart still struggles with understanding whether this is true in my life as well. Doesn’t this apply only to other “special” people?
Or does it indeed apply to me as well? And to every other person called as a child of God?
So what is the destruction that ends those things which seem right to us? Is it only our own personal destruction? Or when we have been disobedient to our calling do we perhaps also risk destroying others? Sins of omission exist in addition to those of commission (James 4:17). So is personal unworthiness an excuse for inaction that I can bring before the throne of grace on judgement day when asked, “Did you do what I called you to do?”
I have struggled often with whether others (plural) would heed the words I speak or write, and whether I was a proper vessel to bring these words forth. But the Holy Spirit asked me today just how many must heed? Did not Jesus teach us that although He has a hundred sheep if but one (singular, not plural) is lost He will leave the ninety-nine to retrieve the one who is lost (Matthew 18:12-14)? It is the same with my words. If they reach but one person and bring that person to Christ it is worthwhile and helps fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15) that Jesus proclaimed to us as He ascended back into heaven to prepare a place for us when He returns.
And so, with the realization I am not, nor could ever be, qualified or worthy of bringing His Word to anyone, I must nonetheless respond in obedience to the calling to speak those things the Holy Spirit places upon my heart. I lovingly hope that those who hear and read these mortal words will not see me – but will instead see the glorious light of the message inside the filthy and unqualified messenger. Let me become nothing, for He is everything.
The way that seems right to this man, the self-justification of avoiding doing this very thing I am now doing, if I continue upon that path, leads not only to my destruction, but perhaps unwittingly prevents another soul from being saved that could otherwise gain heaven by accepting the precious gospel message. For that reason I must speak, even as an unworthy messenger.
I cannot allow such blood on my hands.
But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak. – Exodus 4:10-12 ESV
Blessings and wisdom to you…