There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.Proverbs 14:12 (NLT)
It was my sophomore year of high school. I thought things were going pretty well for me socially (I was an introvert back then – go figure!). I felt confident that this would be a great year. So, I arrived at the first banquet of the year feeling good. It was luau-themed party in the large backyard of one of the family’s homes. Within minutes of my arrival, some of the senior guys were actually hanging out with me. Usually they just made fun of me, so this was a welcome change. That changed after about five minutes when they all gave each other a look and nod. Suddenly, I was lifted from the ground by this group of “friends,” carried through the middle of the entire student body, to the pool where I was thrown into the deep end. This of course brought a lot of laughter and cheers from the rest of the senior class who were in on the hazing. I should’ve known that they were up to something. But I bought their deception.
We have an enemy who is far more crafty and deceptive than a group of teenage boys. He’s been watching each one of us, getting to know our patterns, our personalities, our wants. He’s watching for an opening to begin his deception. You see, Satan knows our weaknesses, our wishes, our desires. So, he crafts plans of deception which feed into those desires. He approaches us through someone or something to present a plan which seems awesome of the surface. It appears like it will help us in our life. It’s not until we are half-way down that path, however, that we realize it was all a deception. As a result we suffer pain, heartache, and sorrow. We develop addictions we wish we never had. We get loaded with emotional baggage.
King Solomon knew this all too well. This is why he wrote our verse today, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” In other words. Satan’s plans always look good on the surface, but will destroy us if we follow them.
So, how do we know which path is Satan’s and which is God’s? There are a few skills we need to develop. 1) Stay close to God. The closer we are to God, the louder we hear His voice. 2) Get into the scriptures. God won’t contradict what He has told us to do in the Bible. 3) Prayerfully consider choices when they are presented and submit to God’s directions. 4) If it appeals to your emotions, be suspicious. God doesn’t manipulate us.
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