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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Seven things God has strong opinions about - Part V

Here are six things God hates,
    and one more that he loathes with a passion:
      eyes that are arrogant,
      a tongue that lies,
      hands that murder the innocent,
      a heart that hatches evil plots,
      feet that race down a wicked track,
      a mouth that lies under oath,
      a troublemaker in the family.
(Proverbs 6:16-19)

Okay, are you tired of seeing this passage yet?  Hope not, because we have another couple of characteristics that we are going to examine.  I was watching TV last night and found it amazing that the serial killer in the show who had one of their victims tied up was quoting this exact scripture.  God often brings confirmation that I am supposed to be studying something in the most unusual ways! So, let's continue down this study path, shall we?

We have examined the arrogant eyes (pride-filled attitude of looking down on others in judgment), the lying tongue (that destroys others and builds self up), the hands that murder the innocent (often without really "killing" them), and the heart that hatches evil plots (just because it can!).  Today, we will examine the feet that race down a wicked track.  Let's look at the conditions here:  
  • Feet carry us on our journey - they are what propel us forward or stop us in our tracks.
  • In this case - they are racing forward - not at a pace that suggests any hesitation in the way they are going, but with determined purpose.
  • Their direction is down the track - they are making progress away from the point where they started.
  • Their destination or course they are traveling is that of less than a desirable end - it is a wicked track.
This wicked path is more than a subtle mischievous path.  It is characterized by both bad principles and bad practice.  When we set ourselves toward embracing principles (values) that are bad, the practices (actions) that stem from that foundation will also be bad.  Look at what the author says - feet that carry us down the wicked path.  He is emphasizing that we have something within us that propels us - motivates us to move in a particular direction with quite a bit of haste.  Spiteful, malevolent, vicious actions caused by hearts that are not guarding against wrong-doing.

That is how it is when we allow compromise to enter in - we find ourselves maybe only trying something once.  If the results are a little bit satisfying, we try it again.  This is fine if the choices we are making are righteous in nature, but it is quite a different thing if they are morally wrong choices.  Each compromise makes it easier for our entire being to lower our resistance to the forces that entice us in.  In turn, our response to the temptation to compromise comes easier and easier, making it appear that we are heading down the track without really exerting much effort at all.

So, how do we guard against having feet that take us down the wicked track?  It begins in our daily assessment of where we are standing right now at this very moment.  It is a moment-by-moment assessment of our responses.  We can change course quite easily - but only if we are attentive to where we are heading!  Remember that each of these seven characteristics lends to the other.  Asking God to show us where we have problems with our pride is the beginning of staying on track.  Counting on God to help us use our tongue in ways that continually honor him and builds up others keeps us from being a stumbling block for others.  Allowing God to reveal how our words, actions, and attitudes destroy the character of others, hold back the growth of another, etc., will open our eyes to pathway choices that are reflective of bad principles and bad practices.

We are given the Holy Spirit as the means by which we can guard against running wildly down the pathway of bad principles and bad practices.  He infuses us with the power to make the right choices, building upon the right principles within.  We get those principles "in" by frequent exposure to the Word of God and times of deep, personal worship in God's presence.  Sometimes we think it is hard to guard against compromise - and we would be right if we are assuming that task alone.  We are given the Holy Spirit to assist us in avoiding those wrong principles from taking root.  He acts as a guard over our actions by first assisting us to guard our attitudes.  So, get time alone with him this week and see where he will lead you!