(Thanks to Sterling for the inspiration, and to his father Mike, for a lifetime of cherished friendship.)
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
“Lord, save us from the ‘seemeth right’.” I once heard an old preacher offer this supplication, the wisdom of which I more and more appreciate as the years go by.
The baubles of the world, the devil, and the flesh gleam brightly before even the most godly eyes. As a young man whom I greatly respect once said when he was a mere lad, “Satan makes good things seem bad, and bad things seem good.” How easily we overlook such wisdom when our flesh craves things, possessions, relationships and opportunities that promise life, but purvey death.
The father of the young man whom I mentioned is a lifelong friend, and is, in fact, the man who led me to the Lord. Mike and I have a pact that we will honestly tell each other if and when one of us begins to venture down paths of destruction that should be obvious, but aren’t (the pact also involves a swift and decisive kick in the… well, you know!). It is good to have such a friend and brother in Christ, who serves as a safeguard against the “seemeth right.”
I’d suggest that we all seek someone to serve this purpose of protection and correction in our lives. We need godly friends who encourage, illuminate, and yes, who “kick us in the you know,” if necessary. Our own study of Scripture and life of prayer may provide the primary fortification against deception. However, we also require God’s provision of faithful companions who journey with us along the path of righteousness. They see pitfalls and obstacles that our own eyes easily miss because of fleshly inclinations. By definition, “the ways of death” are deadly, and the fellow believer who walks with us may well keep us from falling into a dangerous precipice.
Yes, indeed, Lord, save us from the seemeth right! He will, especially as we avail ourselves of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of saints who love us enough to tell us firmly and forthrightly when we blithely wander upon byways of destruction. I’m grateful for Mike, Sterling, and so many of you, who through the years have wielded a correcting word (and/or foot!) when I’ve needed it. Keep talking, and keep kicking! J
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend!”