There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12)
My friend Casey is one of the most encouraging people I know. First, I know she loves me...so that's a great foundation for encouragement. But more than that, no matter what I say or how I say it, she always manages to look up at me with those big, bright blue eyes and say something just plain sweet and noble, true, pure, lovely, admirable or praiseworthy (Phillipians 4:8). She doesn't just help me to see some phanthom silver lining, she encourages me to believe the best about God, His portion for me, and hope in what is unseen.
And did I mention she's just plain sweet?
Well, she is.
Anyway, she did it again tonight. She asked about a particular area of struggle for me: my weight. And though I feel like I'm doing worse than I have in a very long time, she lifted me up and made me not only feel encouraged about what God is doing in me right now, but hopeful that He will do something more specifically in this area.
I just love her.
As I drove home, I thought over our conversation and her encouragement and what I felt the Lord communicating to me through all of this. It was a basically this: There is a way.
Lately, I feel like I've been falling into the trap of making my efforts to combat sin about the method. My battle with food is the food (types, quantities, frequency, cravings). My battle with singleness is with the desire to be married or with making myself marryable. In any given moment, my battle with worry and anxiety is with the particular circumstance.
This just isn't true.
My battle with sin is not betweeen me and food or me and singless or me and a person or me and a circumstance, it is between me and the Lord. When I indulge or otherwise try to satiate myself or order my circumstances, I am trying to control and order my life without God...instead of God.
No wonder I just wind up frustrated and a big fat mess!
There is a way that seems right to man...often that way looks like a new diet, a new venue to meet single men, actively pursuing what I think will make me happy...but the end is the way to death - to feeling separated and distant from God.
I feel the encouragment the Lord had for me this evening, and perhaps for some of you is this: whatever it is, whatever your sin looks like, it is not the issue. He is. No matter how we try to sugar coat it or justify or find reasons to talk ourselves into beliving otherwise, if there is an area of consistent sin in our lives we are not walking rightly with the Lord. The solution is not devising a plan of action to attack that thing or avoid it (though repentance and fighting temption is necessary). The real solution lies in drawing nearer to Christ. He has borne our griefs. He has paid the just penalty for our sin. His stripes have made us clean. And it is abiding in Him that will truly change us and allow us to walk uprightly before our God.
There is a way.
He is the way.
He is the only way.
That is truth and life. Amen.