Our walks with the Lord can often meander like a slow moving river. The issues of life can get us off track and before we know it we have either wandered from the Lord or we are so backslidden we are living a life of rebellion. So how does the Christian keep on the path of righteousness? Is there an antidote for our tendency to get off track? There are a couple of things that come to mind to keep us from doing so.
First, if you’ve been down that bad road before, why would you want to travel it again? You’ve been there and you know it not only leads to a dead end, but it is also a rough way to travel. It is not an enjoyable trip no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise. The temporary pleasure can never compensate for the relentless guilt. It makes you feel lifeless:
“A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.” (Proverbs 21:16)
I’ve heard it said about some bad people that they were born that way. The truth is we are all born with a sinful nature. That little bundle of joy who becomes a toddler doesn’t need to be taught how to be bad. He or she has that down pat; they need to be taught how to be good. However, there are some who are indeed just born bad. Some call it the bad seed:
“The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” (Psalm 58:3)
I think I want to revise what I just wrote. We are all bad seeds in that if we leave the womb and are allowed to do as we please, then we all can end up being bad, womb to tomb. While we can raise our children in Christians homes, know that it is not a guarantee to keep them from pursuing wickedness. However, if we give our children the foundation of righteousness, they can find their way back to the way of understanding:
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Christian comedian Dennis Swanberg jokes that he went to college to work on his testimony. We can laugh at that but we should not allow our children to stray just because “they’re working on their testimonies.” We give them correction all the while knowing they are going to make their own decisions and mistakes. But if we have instilled righteousness into their lives, like a moral compass it will lead them back to Christ. Our jobs as parents is to trust God with them and pray them back to Him.
The second thing that comes to mind is teaching our children how to cry out to the Lord in their times of struggle is one of the best pieces of advice we can give them. When they are desperate and experiencing hard times, perhaps entertaining thoughts of suicide, them knowing that they can cry out to God and He will hear them can be the lifeline they need:
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.” (Psalm 119:176)
We love hearing the testimonies of those who have wandered from the way of understanding because it gives hope to those who are struggling now. However we must be careful to not make Christian superstars out of wandering sheep because the greater testimony is the one who was raised with a Christian foundation and stayed true to the Lord. It’s not that they live perfect lives, but that they live surrendered lives. It is also important to remember that the work of repentance and redemption is not one that we have anything to do with; it is the work of Jesus Christ:
“Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)
So who are you in this devotion? Are you a wanderer or the parent of one? If the former, get back on the way of understanding. If the latter, know that He who began a good work will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (see Philippians 1).
If you are the wanderer then know this; you have one of two choices facing you right now.
You can return to the way of understanding or you can end up in the assembly of the dead.
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers