Proverbs 12:28 (NKJV)
28In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death.
Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are instructed to walk in the way of righteousness.
What is the good life? And who has the capacity to define it? Is it a can of Michelob beer on a camping trip? Is it a good cigar? Is it fast cars and fast women? Massive biceps? A full head of hair? Smoking dope? The cheer of the crowd? What is the good life?
Among no class of men are these questions more urgently and ardently asked than among those who are young. Children and young adults are gifted by God with an appetite to have their questions answered, a desire to find and secure the good life. As they gaze out over the future, they want to know, “What will bring me joy and pleasure in the course of my life? What is the pathway to life?”
Unfortunately, at no time in history have the brokers of the good life been more prolific and skilled in their marketing, leading generations of men and women in the way of death. Professing to be wise, we have become fools, exchanging the glory of God for idols made in the likeness of men. Hence, though we go on one craze after another, we finite creatures are unable to identify what is genuinely good for us. How do we know, infallibly, that some trend we have jumped on today will bring joy and happiness tomorrow? As Solomon reminds us elsewhere,“There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death.” We are not omniscient and so we are unable, as humans, to identify the good life.
The most that we can identify on our own is what brings momentary happiness or pleasure. But we can never be sure that these momentary pleasures won’t bring devastating consequences in the future. One thinks of the radical reversal that has come in the last century over smoking cigarretes. Once admired as the mark of the debutant, the rich and famous, the discovery of its ill effects has relegated it to the down and out. So how do you know that that microwave popcorn you’ve been sneaking after the kids go to bed won’t prove your undoing?
Do we then have no hope in the world? Must we live our lives in constant uncertainty, blown about by every scheme for the good life? Are you youth unable to answer the questions which you most hunger to know? Are we left without a sure foundation? May it never be! For God has defined the good life for us: “In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.” And because our Lord is omniscient, He knows all the end roads, all the results of various actions. He knows that homosexuality is destructive; knows that sexual immorality saps one of character and strength; knows that life is more than the multitude of one’s possessions; knows that humans can have no greater pleasure than when we find our satisfaction in Him. And the glorious thing is that He has revealed all of this to us in His Word. We can know what the good life is – for the Creator of all has revealed it to us and makes life understandable and meaningful as a result.
Despite the clarity of God’s revelation, however, we often spurn His revelation. Attempting to run our lives on our own sense of what is good and right, we find ourselves repeating the sin of our First Mother who, judging for herself, saw that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was pleasant to the eyes and desireable to make one wise. She spurned God’s Word in favor of her own judgment. So what of you? Are you walking in the way of righteousness and reveling in the abundant life that Jesus gives? Or are you walking in your own way and careening toward death or perhaps tasting it even now?
Reminded of our failure to walk in the way of righteousness and our tendency to trust in our own wisdom and wit rather than God’s Word, let us confess our sins together. And as we confess, let us kneel before the Lord.