Tricky (1,107)

April 5th, 2011

“There is a way that seems right to a man . . .” (I would assume that would include a woman) . . . the beginning of a Biblical proverb.

We reach a point in our lives when we think we’re old enough that our opinions, practices and mannerisms are universally acceptable and also proper—even though they have not been around for more than forty or fifty years and certainly weren’t here when the dinosaurs pooped in the prairie. There is a great danger with being impressed with one’s own faculty for reasoning. It is possibly the origin of the phrase, “old and set in one’s ways.” But honestly, age has little to do with it. There are just as many folks who are young and “set in their ways.”

It causes us to live a life absent anticipation or necessary change. Therefore, once we are assured that we know everything about every subject, there is little need to bring passion to a project—just merely show up and shuffle through the event, bored. Wow. Maybe that’s where they came up with the game “shuffleboard.”

But—as you may know—that is not the end of the proverb. “There is a way that seems right to a man (or woman) but the end of it is destruction.”

I will tell you right now that the Bible does not mince words. If I were writing the proverb, I probably would have been gentler in describing the end results of stubborn behavior. I probably would have said, “There is a way that seems right to a person but the end of it is dissatisfaction.” That’s because I’ve been trained to not be so strong and definitive in my wording.

But the Proverb writer chose the word “destruction.” So I got to thinking, what does this stubborn, self-righteous, self-assured and arrogant action of bull-headedness actually destroy?


And you see, here’s the problem. The Bible also says “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” No wonder people walk around looking like they’re desperately in need of a nap after they just got up from one. It is completely understandable why the efforts we see in politics, corporations and religion appear to be in slow motion rather than energized with ingenuity. Our strength is gone because our joy has been destroyed. We insist that we’ve already seen it all and therefore have achieved total understanding of each and every issue.

How sad. But it is tricky, isn’t it? Because what we may refer to as “conviction” or “belief” could be just succumbing to circumstances and settling for less.

So I decided to come up with my own “joy test.” Because if my joy is suffering, my strength will soon wane and I can probably trace it back to some way that I’m doing things that seems really right to me and therefore I have no intention of changing. So here is my joy test.

I know I still have joy:

1. If I look forward to more things than I dread. When life becomes a burden instead of a parcel of possibilities you know that your joy is being sapped and your strength is being depleted because of repetitious, unfulfilling philosophy.

2. And secondly, if I am prepared for a happy ending. If I am walking around the committee meeting explaining to people why things are not going to work under the guise of appearing to be the wise and prudent one, I will eliminate projects that were doomed—but I also will eradicate the excitement of those which could have changed the world.

I often find myself in the midst of activities which initially show little promise. But by just being prepared for God’s intervention, I more often than not end up with a merrier conclusion than the one I foresaw.

“There is a way that seems right to a man or a woman, but the end of that is destruction”—the destruction of our joy, which removes our strength, rendering us spineless jellyfish.

It’s tricky. And the only way to assure that you won’t get zapped of all your joy is to know that what you think is never enough … until the spirit is done speaking.

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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