Proverbs 14:12 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
The number of utopian solutions to society is beyond counting. The number of times you’ve thought, “That’s a great idea!” is also likely beyond counting, at least if you’re given to enthusiasm. Unfortunately for mankind, all those utopian solutions have proved incredibly useless, oftentimes outright murderous or genocidal, and on a more personal scale, a lot of those great ideas have gone sideways rather dramatically, particularly if the idea originated in a moment of fear or rapture or inattention. Clearly, our minds are terrible judges of what is and what is not a good idea, at least when they get distracted by shiny objects or big emotions. Worse, our hearts are sinful, rotted to the core with a distaste for and dislike of God’s law, leading us to make decisions which aren’t just silly but immoral.
Modernity doesn’t like this truth; too many of its tenets are based in a denial of it, an assurance that one’s own moral judgement, particularly when emotional, is invariably right. The argument for abortion, for instance, usually starts with an appeal to the base emotions of horror, compassion, and fear, to the idea of rape and its kin. Sometimes, we listen. In the grace of God, however, we are enabled to see that the argument is worthless, formed from emotion in an attempt to convince us that because a man or a woman committed a sin, an infant must be dissected in the womb and sluiced down the drain.
If we can’t use our own minds as standards, though, what can we use? What is both outside of ourselves and outside of everybody else, which man may trust without fearing another man’s fallibility has compromised it? The Word of God, which Proverbs is a part of, is that standard, that only objective and infallible foundation for our thoughts and decisions. We will err; we will make mistakes; we will sin. The Bible, though, is of God, not of man, and therefore beyond our ills and our inadequacies.
The question arises, though, of how we can trust our decisions, even if we base them off the Bible, given our tendency to make bad decisions really had nothing to do with the data input. Simply put, God has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us (John 14:16,26), to illuminate Scripture to us that we might understand an apply it. Through this understanding, and by His Spirit, we can compare our desires, our decisions, to an eternal standard. It will not, perhaps, be directly relevant to our decision regarding chocolate or strawberry ice-cream (though the wisdom gained by habitually application very well may be); it will, however, guide us in the truly important decisions, including every question of right and wrong.
This remedy is not an easy one. To learn to doubt one’s own heart and one’s own wisdom is a hard path; we humans like to think well of ourselves, dislike finding our own faults. Around the world, this truth is instrumental in convincing many people of the truth of their false religions, whether it’s Mormonism’s assurance of the heart or atheism’s cynicism towards God. We like to trust our own hearts, but we cannot, for the heart is “deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9), and so the man who listens to his heart without thought, who lets his mind be ruled by his heart and not God’s, this man lives a life of lies, of peace which lasts only till he has dug the pit into which he is to fall, to perish at the hands of God (Psalm 73:18), though in His mercy is may be a death which leads unto resurrection (Romans 6:1-4).
God’s Word, ultimately, is our hope and our rest. In His Word we find truth, everlasting and unchangeable. By His Spirit, we are granted hearts of flesh (Ez. 36:26), hearts which repent of rebellion, of sin, and which place their faith in Him, not in our own feeble understanding. Thus shall we “refute every tongue which rises up against [us] in judgement,” for “such is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication from Me” (Is. 54:17).
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.