“Don’t turn to the right or to the left;
keep your feet away from evil” (Proverbs 4:27).
Already we have looked at fixing our gaze directly ahead on the path (contentment) and carefully considering the path for your feet (discernment and wisdom). Lastly, we will talk about not wavering and resisting evil.
“Don’t turn to the right or to the left” (Proverbs 4:27a).
God calls for unwavering attention to His word and His commands. He called for that from His chosen people the Israelites, but they often wavered. They were building golden calves while Moses was meeting with the Lord on Mount Sinai, receiving the Ten Commandments. They missed out on the promised land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because of their fear of the giants in the land. Wavering from the Lord’s commands has been going on since the beginning of time. (See the story of Adam and Eve).
So, how do we not waiver from the path?
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
Not wavering from the path starts with not wavering on God’s word. We must be committed to storing God’s Word in our hearts. We must be committed to making God’s Word the most important thing in our lives.
Next we must keep our feet away from evil. We must be determined to stay away from evil, at all costs.
“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).
As believers we must “cling” to what is good and “hate” what is evil. We must be determined to stay away from evil. We must be determined to stay on this path.
But one thing that we all must remember is that we can’t not waver on our own. This is not excuse to try harder, but to surrender. We must surrender before we can be content, and gain discernment and wisdom. If we just try harder we are only becoming a slave of our own morality and own power. If we surrender, we gain freedom.
As I have been getting ready to be a camp counselor this summer, I have been realizing that I am so not cut out for this job. All these questions and doubts have been going through my mind. How can I take care of 7-10 kids for 2 weeks? How can I be the leader that God has called me to be when I have not truly prepared myself that much for this and where I have struggled most of the semester? How can I take kids on camping trips when I don’t know how to pitch tents or make fires? I feel so inadequate in so many areas that last night I was almost ready to throw in the towel and quit before I even made it to camp. I’m glad that this morning I woke up with a less defeated attitude.
I was reading my pre-camp devotions this morning that my camp leaders had sent me. I was just praying and asking the Lord for some encouragement for camp and the upcoming summer of unknowns. And He delivered.
“Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up” (2 Corinthians 4:1).
After reading this verse, I was given peace about this summer. I may not know how to start fires or pitch a tent, but I know the Lord has given me this ministry opportunity. I know that even though I feel unprepared and worried about all the unknowns, I know the Lord will equip me to do His work. The only qualification to do ministry is that you’ve been shown mercy by God. And that you’ve accepted His mercy and now to do ministry, all you have to do is show genuinely the mercy you have been shown.
But why should we not give up on this task?
“Now we have this treasure in clay jars so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
We should never give up because the power of Christ lives in us. In chapter five of 2 Corinthians, verse 14 says that Christ love compels us. This power that lives inside of us, is the power of love of Jesus Christ.
We are the clay jars. We are so inadequate and feeble, so easily broken. Why did God choose to put His Holy Spirit inside of us? Because of His mercy. Because He knew that it wasn’t about us, the clay jars. No, it was about His power and His love redeeming us from the inside out. And through that redeeming, the world would see His power living in us.
Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 4:16-“Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.”
What does this even look like? How can our outer person be stripped away, but our inner person be redeemed?
“We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
You see in this life we will face persecution. Jesus said that they would hate us because they hated him. And this can bring a whole lot of tension and pressure on our exterior. Our mind may be tired and our bodies may be beat down, but the Lord is renewing our spirits daily, so that whatever happens to our bodies, our minds, our hearts, we can stand firm knowing that the Lord has given us this ministry by His mercy. And that ministry is just showing the world that even though we are clay jars, inadequate, self seeking, breakable pieces, God’s mercy allows us to love and to have joy and peace and to be in a relationship with Him.
As I head off to camp this summer, I am faced with all kinds of uncertainties. I am faced with all kinds of fears. But I will not give up. God’s mercy propels this little clay jar to this finish line and allows me to be a part of His ministry. I ask for ya’lls prayers as I take on something new, with new people, in new areas, in another step in my relationship with Christ.