The prayers of little children are quite revealing in their innocence and their frank honesty. One such prayer is, “Dear God, let the bad people be good and the good people be nice.” How true this is in a world where things God would consider good are held as bad and upholds evil as good. In our lives, we have two choices – between good and evil – and God reminds His people time and again of this choice in various ways, between life and death, between good and evil, between righteousness and unrighteousness.
This choice begins in our hearts. Proverbs 3:3, 4:4, 4:21, 6:21, 7:3 – these verses and more in that book of wisdom point out the importance of our hearts. Jesus would later say that the contents of our hearts are revealed in our lives. The condition of our hearts determines the conditions of our lives, and those decisions will dictate the paths of our lives.
The Paths of Good and Evil
Proverbs 4:19 parallels living in sin is like stumbling in the dark. Chapter 13:9 says those who live this way have knowingly put their lamps out, and Proverbs 12:21 warns that these will be filled with trouble. Chapter 10:28 and 11:19 cautions that living in evil brings misfortune and death. God’s word makes it clear that ungodly living leads to a life of trouble and misdirection.
In contrast, Proverbs 11:19 and 21:21 claim the righteous obtains life. Chapter 4:18 says the path of the righteous is as the dawn’s light, making their path clear. Proverbs 10:28 calls the hopes of the righteous joyful, and chapter 29:6 states the godly may sing and be glad.
Understanding Our Choice
Children have a pretty clear understanding of choices. They know the difference between making good choices and bad choices. We’ve read of the path presented by two choices, and the worth of each path is very clear. Not only does Proverbs make these differences clear, but the New Testament clearly reinforces this principle.
- Romans 6:23 contrasts between the consequences of sin and the mercy found in Christ. The writer of Hebrews says He is the author of salvation to those who obey Him.
- Galatians 6:7-8 admonishes us to not fool ourselves into thinking our actions do not bear consequences. We choose between spiritual life and death.
Consider the direction of your life today. Can you sing and be glad in the Lord, or are you stumbling in darkness? In Deuteronomy 30:15 records Moses telling the people that they have two choices – goodness and life or evil and death. He calls heaven and earth as witness to their choices, and he challenges them to choose life. We have the same choice today, and that choice begins in the heart.
Matthew 5:8 blesses those who are pure of heart, for they will see God. Will our hearts be calloused to God’s word, or will we tenderly submit to His will and choose the life of His salvation?
lesson by Tim Smelser