Our lesson this week on What You Get Is Not What You See covers a lot of territory. Proverbs 14 and 15 contain so much valuable instruction that we could probably spend one week on each verse instead of this one week on all 68 verses.
Sound wisdom and instruction seem to be in short supply. Not just for practical everyday living but also our spiritual walk. One verse, in particular, in this week’s lesson sends a loud warning against false assumptions in life that lead to a disastrous ending. It’s one that we often quote yet often take for granted.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12
So simple yet so profound. Conviction in error is still error. Pursuing a direction in life with passion and commitment is not enough. Following your heart or your gut feelings is no guarantee that you are moving towards eternal life.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15
What is the solution, especially concerning our spiritual walk?
O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself;
It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
O Lord, correct me, but with justice;
Not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing. Jeremiah 10:23-24
As a believer, to embrace these words is life-changing. They are radically opposed to how life is done by those who are not believers. It stands in contrast to the traditional view that we must plan out each step of our lives in order to be successful and prosperous. Instead, the believer is counseled to go through life in a different manner.
After all, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Not just for the life we are living now but, more importantly, for an assurance of the life to come. Jesus warned His hearers of this important truth.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14
What makes this narrow way so difficult to find? In a recent lesson we heard over and over again how wisdom cries out. Wisdom stands at the top of the hill and at the gates at the entry of the city crying out to those who will stop and listen. Wisdom cries out to us still today.
The Sermon on the Mount is a classic example of Wisdom crying out. Christ’s words to the people on that day were so revolutionary that life would never be the same for those who heard and those who later read these principles of righteousness with understanding.
But perhaps, nothing better explains why the way is so narrow and why so few find it than what is recorded in Luke 9. The words of Jesus are direct and deep, leaving none with an excuse for not knowing. It is Wisdom crying out.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? Luke 9:23-25
These words of Jesus go contrary to the wisdom of man. However, for the believer they shine a bright beacon on the pathway of life. Solomon, the wisest man who lived, knew this fundamental truth and eloquently yet succinctly stated it.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus the Christ
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” What does “walking by faith” mean to you?
- How can one tell if they are truly walking by faith and not by sight?
- What, if any, are the assurances that we are on the right path in life?
- Is church attendance and participation always a sign of being on the right path in life? Why yes or no?
- What does it mean when Jesus says to “deny himself” in order for one to follow Him?
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: Following Jesus means that we don’t have much of a life down here apart from heaven. Explain your answer.
We close this week with a deeper look into the pathway of life. It pierces into our motives and gives us all questions for reflection.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing… And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:3, 13
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!