The trail at Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs, CO

Think twice before you take the first path

I’ve had a number of really exciting cab experiences during my stay here in Chicago, most of them centering on the cab driver himself. But yesterday, I saw something I’d never seen before.

The cab driver was taking us back to our hotel, and the streets were pretty congested. I don’t think I’ve seen a moment where the streets haven’t been congested, to be honest. We crossed an intersection, moving really fast, and the driver slammed on his brakes. Why?

Because a man in a wheelchair was wheeling himself down the middle of the street. Cars swerved both ways around him, and he kept waving at everyone to keep coming. Now, either he was daring them to hit him or he didn’t realize he was in a really dangerous place.

We got around him without getting ourselves or him or anyone else killed, and the taxi driver just shook his head and said in his very thick Nigerian accent: “That’s just not very smart, man.”

The trail at Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs, CO

The trail at Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Proverbs 16:25.

There is a path before each person that seems right,
    but it ends in death.

Have you ever done something really stupid in the heat of the moment? It made sense right then, but when everything calmed down, you realized how much of an idiot you were.

I’ve been there. More than once.

At first glance, the idea seems perfect. The plan is flawless. But that’s just surface thinking. If you take the time to think it through, to look below the surface and consider the consequences of your actions, you might start seeing problems.

But when you’re in a rush or panicking or desperate to see some kind of movement, you rarely stop to think about consequences. When you’re in action mode, all you want is instant gratification. And, I’m not going to lie, acting without thinking often provides instant gratification.

But instant gratification comes and goes. It doesn’t stick around. And maybe you’ll be satisfied for a moment, but after it’s over, you’ll be stuck where you were before. And then you’ll have the consequences of your actions to face.

I don’t know what the crazy dude in the wheelchair wanted yesterday. If he wanted attention, he sure got it. If he wanted someone to run him over, he was right where he needed to be. But if he was just trying to get from point A to point B without dealing with the crowds on the sidewalk, maybe he could have come up with a better solution.

Just because an idea seems legit at first glance, don’t jump on it immediately. Take the time to think about it, especially if it’s going to require a large investment from you. And beyond just thinking about it, pray about it. Ask God for direction and keep reading your Bible. You never know what you might find in Scripture that will give you the answers you need. God reveals Himself to us in many different ways, if we’re willing to keep our eyes open.

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God’s not a Magic Eight Ball

When was the last time someone trusted you with a huge responsibility? What did you do? How did you react?

I frequently encounter situations where I end up having to make big, important decisions. But just the other day, one of those decisions that only come around in a blue moon landed in my lap.

I hate decisions like that because no matter how you choose, you always feel like you should have chosen something else. Maybe that’s just me.

So what do you do when you’re faced with a difficult choice? Or even a choice between two good options? How do you choose what’s best? Whether it’s a family decision or a personal decision or a professional decision, those big, scary, intimidating choices always come along when you least expect them. And if you don’t take them seriously, you could have major trouble in the future.

Is there a Magic Eight Ball somewhere you can shake that will tell you exactly what you’re supposed to do with yourself?

Well, not exactly.

8ballToday’s verses are James 1:5-8.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

God is nothing like a Magic Eight Ball. Well, I say that. Maybe there are a few similarities. When you do get an answer, it’s usually terse. Go. Now. Stop. Wait. But God doesn’t just hand out answers because you ask for them. You don’t get to determine when God answers your questions or your prayers, and that’s frustrating.

When we’re faced with a choice we don’t know how to make, we’re instructed to ask for wisdom. The Bible is full of examples of people who asked God for guidance who received it, so God certainly is in the business of sharing His wisdom with us. But the thing about God’s wisdom is that He doesn’t just drop it in your skull because you ask for it. No. In most instances, you have to be willing to seek it—in the Bible.

The Bible is God’s Word to us, and it’s full of His wisdom for how to live and how to think and how to choose. Our culture—and even the church to a certain extent—has convinced us that the Bible is too complicated for Everyman to understand, and that’s a lie. Of course, the enemy wants us to think the Bible is too difficult to understand. The more we read it, the more we know how to live for God, and that’s the last thing our enemy wants.

But one thing is true. You can’t read the Bible by yourself and truly grasp what it means in your life. To truly understand what the Bible is saying, you need the Holy Spirit. You need God to reveal it to you.

That’s what you ask for. That’s how you ask for wisdom. You ask God to reveal it to you.

But then, notice what the rest of the verse says? Ask for wisdom, yes, but then you have to trust that wisdom comes from God. You have to believe that God is the one who gives it and no one else. Not politicians, your teachers, your parents, your pastor, your church, your friends, or yourself. God is the source of wisdom, and He’s the only source you can trust.

It can’t be that you’ll accept God’s wisdom for Problem A but not for Problem B, because you don’t like what God says about Problem B.

No.

We don’t get to pick and choose. We don’t get to tell God when He’s right or not. He’s either right all the time, or He’s not God.

And if you spend your time wavering between two differing opinions—because God’s wisdom is the opposite of what the world tells you is the truth—you’ll be unstable. You’ll be insecure. You’ll be uncertain. And you’ll make unwise decisions.

So do you need wisdom today? Ask for it. And then trust what God tells you through His Word, whether you like it or not.

One of you is God, and the other one isn’t. There’s no middle ground. And the more you try to make middle ground, the more unstable you’ll be. You won’t have time to make wise decisions. You’ll be too busy cleaning up the mess from all the foolish decisions you’ve made.