Let me ask you a reflective question. Have you ever considered what your life would look like without Jesus? What kind of person would you be?
I was asked that question as part of a reflection time recently and the possibilities are very sobering. Would I have been a criminal? A thief or a player in a crime syndicate. Would I have been a drunk with three divorces behind him? Would I have been a seducer of women with multiple unclaimed children? Would I be dying in a hospital from the consequences of my mistakes? Would I be dead already? All I know is that without Jesus and the power of the cross in my life, I think I would be a very, very different person.
Proverbs chapter 4 focuses on two seemingly different things: a father’s example and two possible paths in life. The two are really related. The whole chapter, and indeed the whole book in some regards, is a dissemination of learned knowledge and how to apply it from one person to another, father to son in this case. The father pleads with his son to listen to his words and heed his discipline because there are two possible paths in life: the “straight path” and the “path of the wicked”. Really, the whole book from this point forward is a study of those two paths; their characteristics, their appeal (or seeming appeal) and their rewards (positive or negative).
The father is pleading with his son to listen to wisdom and learn to walk the straight path so that life will go well (“when you walk, your steps will not be hindered” verse 12) and avoid the pitfalls of the path of the wicked.
While we who are in Christ have been rescued from the ultimate destination that the path of wickedness leads to, this chapter of Proverbs should remind us that we must still choose on a daily basis which path we are going to walk. Knowing Jesus and believing in his death on our behalf is not just about getting your passport stamped for eternity. Jesus desires to redeem and restore every aspect of our lives here and now.
Choose your path.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Proverbs 7-9