Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of
evildoers.15 Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving. (Proverbs 4:14-15
What caught my eye here was verse 15 – Don’t even think
about it! How many times do we let our thoughts drift off where they don’t need
to be. Do you know that most sins don’t happen ‘out of nowhere'. A person has
to give that sin a thought first, if we are not careful to push that thought out
of our head, if we are not being defensive, that thought can setup in our
minds. That’s how the enemy can gain a foothold on a person; giving into a
thought, thinking about something/someone/someplace that doesn’t need to be thought upon. If you allow your mind to stay captive with the wrong thoughts,
to prevent that foothold from becoming a stronghold, you need to get rid of the thought and replace it - replace it with the Word of God. That’s why in the rest of Verse
15, we are told, to ‘turn away and keep moving’. Don’t stop and think about it,
get out – have you ever watched a movie and known the ‘bad guy’ was hiding in
the dark room or alleyway, and you’re yelling at the TV for the person to ‘get out,
why are you going down a dark abandoned alleyway, you know nothing good ever
comes from that!’ it’s the same thing with us.
The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which
shines ever brighter until the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked
is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over.
(Proverbs 4:18-19 NLT)
They don’t make many horror movies with scary scenes all in
daylight for one reason, when the light is shining all around us, we feel safe, we tend to not dwell on thoughts we shouldn't. But when it’s dark and we can’t see where we are or where we are going, that’s
when it’s dangerous.
One of my favorite songs based on Psalm 119:105 was ‘Thy Word’ by Amy Grant: (just a few lyrics)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
Your love for me and yet,
My heart forever is wandering.
And hold me to Your side,
And I will love you to the end.
And think I’ve lost my way.
Still, You’re there right beside me.
Please be near me to the end
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path
God’s Word is a light for us, HIS Words are instructions for
us, teaching us how to navigate this life. We are spiritual beings in a fleshy
body, with worldly desires and a mind that has spent more time being taught about
the physical world than the spiritual world – so we are in desperate need for
instructions on how to live in a world that is only our temporary home. It's like going to foreign country without a guide, a map or a translator - you will get lost, confused and frustrated and probably end up where you don't want to be.
So many times I’ll find a million excuses not
to read my Bible or spend time with God, but the second that I do start reading my
Bible – I can’t put it down, it’s like that ice cold refreshing drink of water
when you’re so incredibly thirsty, you can’t stop drinking it! The enemy knows
we are stronger when we spend time in the Word, he knows that it is our greatest
weapon and with it we not only can help ourselves, but we can help others as
well. He will do what he can to keep us out of GOD's Word and with the modern day distractions, he doesn't have to do much work, lots of times we do the work for him.
I joke that I don’t have much will power any more and I’m
serious when I say that, that’s why it’s so important to develop habits. When
you do something regularly you are less likely to stop doing it, simply because
its become a habit. I worked out every morning at 4am the last few years I
worked, when I retired, I stopped waking up at 4am to work out, thinking I
could work out anytime during the day – WRONG! Because I got out of that habit,
I developed new habits to fill in that time and I’ve been struggling to get
back into a routine where I am working out again. So make it a habit to pick up your Bible at a set time of day, in the same place in your home, something that will develop into a habit to where you won't have to think about it, you'll just do it out of reflex.
Some people need accountability, I’m also one of them! I follow
our church’s daily bible reading plan on my iPad. Everyday, it
pulls up the chapters I’m reading for the day and when I finish my daily chapters, I get a ‘check’ mark. This is ideal
for me, I like to see a To Do list and I like to see it checked off as well, so
this keeps me accountable. I might fall behind once or twice during the week,
but I always catch up before the end of the week so I can see that lil' check mark with the percentage telling me how close I am to completing the
Reading Plan. If accountability is what you need to keep you reading your Bible, find a Bible plan and start one. I use YouVersion
's app on my iPhone & iPad, which also can be used on my computer, if you prefer the touch and feel of a Bible, there are plans you can print out as well. If you are new to reading the Bible, start with one of the first 4 Gospels of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and then go into Acts, Romans, and the rest of the NT (there's lots of ideas on what plan is best, I just think new Believers should start with the NT before they jump into the OT); the plan I'm following is Project 3:45 Plus
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words.21 Don’t lose
sight of them. Let them penetrate deep
into your heart,22 for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to
their whole body.23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the
course of your life. (Proverbs 4:20-23
You see, if we pay attention to the instructions we’ve been
given in the Bible, it will bring LIFE and not death to us, it will cause
HEALING – not just physically but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Let
GOD’s Word sink deep into our heart, keeping all the worldly things out, and that's where we find LIFE. Because we must protect our heart, it determines the steps
we take, so if we put the Word of GOD into our hearts, we will follow the path
HE has for us, the path that leads to LIFE!
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before
you.26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.27 Don’t
get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil. (Proverbs 4:25-27 NLT)
Those detours of life, the ones that pull us away from GOD
and the path HE has before us – they are a dangerous distraction that only leads to
pain and destruction. No one likes to learn lessons the hard way, so don’t get
off the path, stay on the path GOD has set out before you. Keep HIS Word in
your heart, follow HIS instructions, keep yourself from unneeded pain and stay in
the light where you belong – we are new creations in Christ, that is creations
of the Way the Truth and the Life!
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust
also in me. There is more than enough
room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am
going to prepare a place for you? When
everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with
me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” “No,
we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how
can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:1-6 NLT)
We know The Way, we just need to follow The Way!