When driving I always seem to choose the wrong lane to drive in. Traffic is heavy, cars are backed up, and I make a decision to switch lanes into the lane that looks like it will move faster and save me time. Invariably I choose wrong and that lane ends up being the slow lane. This drives me crazy, because I feel like I'm getting tricked by the false hope of a better traffic experience. Oftentimes life presents the same conundrum. Here is where this thought popped up in Proverbs 14:
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief."
There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.
The world is always offering us the easy answer, the quick fix. But rarely is the easy answer the best one. More often the quick fix leads to less pain and struggle now but significantly more later. A few examples that illustrate this:
eating that greasy (and delicious) fast food instead of taking the time to make something healthy for yourself
spending money now on fun instead of saving for future needs
saying "yes" to someone now so you won't have to say "no" until later
choosing to live a lifestyle that focuses on your own pleasure and comfort instead of giving your life away to Jesus and to other people
cheating on your homework when you were in school to get it done, but missing out on learning the information for the test later.
You get the point. So what do we do? How do we avoid the way that leads to death?
In my office, we've worked hard to create an environment of thinking things through. We try to make every decision with next year, the next 3 years, and the next 5 years in mind so that we don't rob from the future to satisfy our immediate needs. Personally I try my best to implement this principle in my own life, to varying degrees of success. Ultimately the best way to take the way that leads to life is to cling to Jesus, walk with him daily, put into practice the way Jesus lived and taught. Think differently than what you see on TV or Facebook. We are called to be different, not weird different, but different than how the rest of the world functions. Jesus wasn't like anyone else in his town or culture. He lived a life that was in many ways opposite of everyone he knew. We are to do the same thing. If our lives don't look any different than our friends who aren't serious followers of Christ then we have to ask ourselves whether we are a serious follower of Christ. Don't get caught up in the way that leads to death, it's the easy way, the way that everyone else is going. It may look in the moment like it's the best or the most fun, but we know it ends in tears.
I could write a lot more on this topic, but my goal was to keep these short and sweet so people will actually read them.