There is a way that seems right to a person,
but eventually it ends in death. (Proverbs 14:12 GW)
(Context—Proverbs 14:1-13 GW)
How often have you heard this quote, "To thine own self be true?" It's a famous quote from William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. In those times it had a certain meaning but it's been reinterpreted in a different way in our present culture.
What comes to mind when you hear this saying? What does this expression mean to you?
Looking back on my own spiritual journey, it seemed I was always looking for a way to live that fit me—that seemed right to me. I was looking for something that was true for me.
But that kept changing as I went through various life experiences and sampled different approaches to life and spirituality. I found that being true to myself was an unreliable guide.
Using one's own self as a plumb line isn't such a great idea. It's unreliable because we tend to internalize values and beliefs based on our acceptance or resistance to what we encounter in life. Sometimes it's a combination of acceptance and resistance that results in a hodgepodge of beliefs and values.
I came to a turning point in my life where I challenged God to reveal Himself to me in some obvious way. After a morning of fasting, hiking through the woods, and waiting, I returned home disappointed. I saw no vision or sign, nor heard any voice of direction.
Later, after grumbling about this failure, I opened up a Bible someone gave me and began to read. I came to where Jesus said the wide gate and easy road leads to destruction and the narrow gate and hard road leads to life (Matt 7:13-14).
I realized I'd been looking for a wide gate with an easy road. I was heading in the wrong direction and I knew it.
Jesus also said, only a few found this narrow gate and hard road that leads to life. The day started with me challenging God but ended with God challenging me. I accepted that challenge and my way in life became clearer day by day from that point on.
I've never turned back since that day but life since then has not always been easy. But, my life from that point has been fulfilling and God has blessed me in countless ways.
This verse in Proverbs may be hard to hear but the larger context helps clarify its truth (especially verses 2, 10, 13).
We all need a reliable guide for our lives. God's written Word and God's Spirit are always reliable. They've been a trustworthy plumb line for many centuries for millions of people.
Are you wondering if you've chosen the right way for your life? Read through these verses, even listen to them read to you (Proverbs 14 audio). Allow the truth of God and His Spirit to give you insight on all of this.
Ask God for discernment and confirmation of the way of life—a true and fulfilling life—that He intends for you. Ask God to guide you with the peace of His Holy Spirit and the clarity of His truth.
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