An Adventure in Proverbs - Chapter 14 - Dead Ends

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.



Hope is dangerous.


Hope is a wonderful thing. Hope gives some a way to visualize their dreams. Hope has started revolutions, raised nations from destruction, allowed athletes and armies to overcome insurmountable deficits. Hope has given some the will to live, when they were long overdue for death. Hope has helped untold thousands overcome what others thought was impossible. Hope is the breath of survival. Hope opens the door to the impossible. Hope is dangerous.


Hope also opens the door to disappointment. When we hope for something, really place our emotions into this thing we are hoping will come to pass we open the door to be crushed. Is there anything more shattering to our psyche than to have our hope snuffed. Hope breeds excitement, excitement breeds expectations, and expectations breed more hope. Hope can snowball like that, the more hope we have the more hope we get. Unfortunately the more hope we have, the deeper the disappointment if hope does not win out. To hope is to risk. To risk is to possibly suffer pain. The more hope, the more risk, potentially the more pain. How many times can we hope and fail before we give up all hope?


So what are we to do?


Snuff out all hope to avoid potential pain? The life without hope is the life of no passion, no dream, no....hope. Without hope there is no future to look forward to. Without hope all that matters is what has already happened and what is happening right now.


Some might choose the life of no hope, and thus face no risk. Real life chooses to hope, to risk, and to reap the disappointment or the joy from that risk. Hope in the Bible is coupled with faith and love. Faith and hope are very close cousins. But love seems more distant until you realize that love is what allows us to continue when hope is lost.

College, the best years of your life?

This was written with the college aged reader in mind. I originally wrote it in 2005, but it's relevant as many of my friends head off to college.

 You, like me, have probably heard the phrase, "College is the best time of your life".  I want to run an idea by you.  Here it is.....If college is really the best years of your life, then you have a pretty crappy life.  Let me explain what I mean. 

If you are in college from the ages 18-22, then you still have 60+ years to live. If the next 60+ years don't compare to 4 or 5 years you spent in college, didn't your life peak kinda early?  Isn't everything after college kind of a let down?  If you get the idea that college is the best time of your life from older people who look back and think that, I would suggest that those older people are suffering from a mid-life crisis of some sort, and at the very least they are the type of person you may not want to emulate. 

I am not saying that college shouldn't be great.  It should. It should be the best years of your life..... so far.  Just as high school was hopefully better than junior high. But why settle for peaking at the age of 22?  Why not make your 20's even better than college? Why not make your 30's better than your 20's and so on. I've been in my 30's for almost 9 years now and I have to say, they are pretty awesome. I had an incredible college experience. I loved all of it except for the tests and overly long papers.  I made great friends that I still talk to and hang out with. I'm still in close contact with my 16 best college guy friends. We get together for a weekend every year. We hang out, share whats going on, and pray for one another, and basically stay up all night and laugh, just like when we were in college. My prayer for you as a college student is that you will make friends like that in school. Friends who will be with you for the rest of your life. Friends who will stand up to you when you are wrong. Friends who will stand by you when you are hurt, and friends who will point you to the one thing that is more important than anything else...... Christ.