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March 31, 2009 / beidson

Trajectories of Truth and Temptation

Part of what it means to be a wise person is to be able to look out into the future and see the consequences of current choices.twopaths1     Conversely, a fool is a person who is not able to discern the harvest he will reap from the trouble he is sowing; a fool is short-sighted and doesn’t know it.  But the wise person is able to examine his or her life and understand the relationship between the path they are on and the destination that awaits them.  Their choices are seen within the larger context of their entire lives.  They do not live for the moment, per se; they live for the future.

Understanding the trajectory of our lives is a necessary part of following after Jesus, who is Wisdom.  The man who cannot see the devastation and destruction he is preparing for himself by financial irresponsibility is a man who is not following after Christ.  He is failing to grasp the bigger picture.  He is failing to realize the fact that his whole life is connected.  He cannot contain his foolishness; it spills over into every area of his life.  If their is one thing that sets a fool apart from a wise person, it is that he is unable to see the patterns he is forming in his life.  A wise man is able to look at his habits and patterns and forecast the future, at least as far as God will enable him.  But the fool cannot discern trajectories; he cannot see the patterns he is forming.

Put simply, we can either walk in the way of Wisdom, in the way of Christ, or we can turn away from truth and walk in darkness.  Our choices are steps along the path of wisdom or foolishness, and given enough time, we will end up further along down one of these paths.  The question is, Can we look at our lives now and discern which path we are on?

For the Christian woman who seems to be wise in every regard and yet secretly entertains romantic thoughts about her neighbor, there is a warning: your wayward desires will take you where you do not want to go–you will not be able to contain them.  For the teenager who makes it a practice to rebel against her parents, there is a harvest of bad fruit awaiting him.  He will reap what she sows.  “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27).

But for the man who intentionally battles his flesh daily and refuses to give up and give in to temptation, he can be confident that God is leading him down the path of righteousness, that his steps are secure, and that he is walking in the way of wisdom.  Though he falls, he will rise again, because it is is practice to pursue wisdom and not foolishness.  He may act foolishly, but he is not a fool.  There is a huge difference, and knowing this difference makes all the difference.

Truth and temptation are not isolated choices or fragmented moments in life; they are two ways to live.  When you pursue them, you will surely find them.  They are two distinct paths and you cannot travel them both at the same time.  A fool may make a wise choice, but the pattern of his life will be habitual folly.  The wise woman may act foolishly, but she will always return to the Wisdom of God, who is Christ.  Becoming like Christ takes more than momentary devotion; it takes a lifetime of love and faithfulness.  If you are currently on a path leading you away from Christ, what hope do you have that you will not finally walk away from him?  This is wisdom: to know the future by tracing the trajectory of your life, by understanding the patterns you are forming, by realizing the harvest you will reap from the seed you are sowing.  Truth and temptation are two courses that separate from the beginning.  Wisdom is turning away from the path of temptation and seeking after truth.

“For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.  the iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.  He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray” (Proverbs 5:21-23).

“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23).

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