“All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.” (Proverbs 16:2)
All that I do is right—screech!—nope, definitely not, but sometimes I act like it. It's the thought that counts, but my inner thoughts are not always right. When I say “my drawing is terrible,” do I really mean that or am I saying that just to get praise? Sometimes I don't know why I do the things I do, say what I say, or think what I think, but God does. He knows facts about me I don't even know. My motives may be hidden to my own heart, but not to His eyes.
We think our way is the only way and that's when it's time to stop and think about what we're doing. We should assess all our actions, words, and feelings. Are our works really diamonds or fool’s gold? I need to put my motives under a microscope to determine the purity of my actions. More often than not, I usually have to dump my motives into the trash and start new. But “To confess you were wrong yesterday, is only to acknowledge that you are a little wiser today; and instead of being a reflection on yourself, it is an honor to your judgement, and shows that you are improving in the knowledge of the truth. Do not be ashamed to learn, and to cast aside your old doctrines and views, but take up that which you may more plainly see to be in the word of God.” *
*C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume Two (Hendrickson Publishers, 2016), 67.
"Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; for why should he be esteemed?" (Isaiah 2:22)
The world's most profound wisdom can be utterly shallow. And the world's opinions are usually so small you can't even see them with a microscope. But God's simplest wisdom is deeper than the longest tunnel and His opinions are bigger than the universe. Man's wisdom will not likely last past his lifetime, maybe not even that. God says their knowledge “ ‘shall be seen to be folly, ere another hundred years have rolled away.’ And so the mighty thoughts of Socrates, and the wisdom of Solon, are utterly forgotten now; and could we hear them speak, the veriest child in our schools would laugh to think that he understandeth more of philosophy than they.” *
In light of the shortness of man's wisdom, why are we still regarding it? Surely the Creator knows more about His inventions than the inventions themselves. As if the wires in the oven would know more about the oven than the electrician.
Not all human wisdom belongs in the trash; sometimes God sends His wisdom through us. He allows us to study His creation and get a glimpse of its complexity. We should never regard human knowledge as limitless and perfect, remembering today's latest discoveries may prove to be a sham tomorrow.
*C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume One (Hendrickson Publishers, 2016), 8.
"A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy." (Proverbs 29:1)
Scientists claim man descended from apes, but if humans descended from any mammal, I think it would be a mule. We balk, we bite, and we don't listen to reason. Stubbornness isn't exactly bad and neither is a frying pan, unless it happens to land on your foot. Apply stubbornness to the wrong thing and you're liable to wish that frying pan had broken your toe instead. The whole human problem starts with stubbornness—refusing to repent, hanging on to sin, and holding on to our own self-righteousness.
The worst kind of stubbornness is that which won't bend. "When troubles come it is of no use to fly in the face of God by hard thoughts of providence: that is kicking against the pricks and hurting your feet. The trees bow in the wind, and so must we. Every time the sheep bleats it loses a mouthful, and every time we complain, we miss a blessing."* Criticisms, rebukes, and corrections may sting our ears but they help the inflammation go down on pride. However, we shouldn't take everything people say seriously or we'd live our lives in tears. Rather, we should sift people's remarks through our conscience.
But if God reproved you, beware. His words are always true; they may be hurtful but they are not harmful unless you make them so. God's discipline is an expression of His love, so if you reject His reproof you are rejecting His love. He who ignores the danger signs and places his hand on the high-voltage box is likely to get fried.
*C.H. Spurgeon, The Complete John Ploughman: Combined Edition of John Ploughman's Talk and John Ploughman's Pictures (Christian Focus Publications, 2007), 41.
"For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Galatians 6:3)
You can't become something until you realize you are nothing. Man, without the Lord's restraining power, would descend into the depths of wickedness. You've heard people refer to a man as "good.” His sin might not be as obvious as others, but that does not make him good. You can see dirt but you can't see germs, but germs are more harmful to your health than dirt. You won't find gold dust in a pigsty and you won't find holiness in man.
It is true that not all men are equally bad, and many sinners have done noble things. But one transgression wipes out our good deeds and renders them all worthless.
When a person realizes they are worthless, God changes that worthless junk into a golden medal. Our worth is not found in ourselves, but in Christ. "The best of men have been always the readiest to confess their depravity. The holiest men, the most free from impurity, have always felt it most. He whose garments are the whitest, will best perceive the spots upon them." *
*C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume One (Hendrickson Publishers, 2016), 235.
"As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away." (Psalms 90:10)
Before the flood, a hundred-year-old man was still considered young. Man's years competed with the oaks. But even then, life was short. You might live to be thousand and still not know everything. There would always be things to do, places to go, and dreams to live.
Some people wish they could live forever. But why would you want your life on this planet to be endless? There'd be no end to your labor, no stop to your pain, and new heartaches would arise each day. It would be an awful fate to live eternally on earth. Although there are many enjoyable things on earth, there is as much bad as good, and we all hope for a day when evil will cease.
If you are under twenty-five, you probably think you have your whole life ahead of you, but that might not be so. People can die at any age, whether they are one or ninety. Haven't you heard of an infant's death? If anyone had their whole life ahead of them, wouldn't it have been them? Yet they lie in a grave, not even reaching the prime of life. God has allotted each person a certain number of years. The doctor may say you will die in three weeks, but you will not die until God says so. I know an older gentleman who was supposed to be dead several years ago, according to the doctor. He's still ticking because God hasn't stopped his clock.
If you only had a few weeks to live, what would you do? Eat, drink, and be merry? Try to see the world? That would be pouring your seconds into the wastebasket. It is good to enjoy your life, and there's nothing sinful in fun, but spiritual matters are more important than enjoying yourself. "I would not choose to sit on a barrel of gunpowder and smoke a pipe, but that is what those do who are thoughtless about their souls while life is so uncertain." *
*C.H. Spurgeon, The Complete John Ploughman: Combined Edition of John Ploughman's Talk and John Ploughman's Pictures (Christian Focus Publications, 2007), 139.
"You shall not follow the masses in doing evil." (Exodus 23:2)
A mob is synonymous with trouble. When a lot of people are doing, accepting, or believing this or that, that's a strong indication it's wrong. This isn't always the case, and shouldn't be applied to everything. It's perfectly fine to join the masses in eating Nutella, or a similar harmless activity. But when it comes to spiritual or modern trends, it is generally a good idea to steer clear of the masses. How often do we see millions standing up for what is right? We are fortunate to see a few thousand, and sometimes not even that.
Sally, Tommy, Ethel, and the whole neighborhood might be doing it, but that doesn't make it right. The number of participants can never make an evil thing good any more than a group of squirrels can make a dandelion an acorn. Your pastor may say this, your friend may say that, but the only voice that matters is God's. Never follow popular opinion unless it lines up with God's Word.
Sometimes the masses follow a trend that is neither right nor wrong. Then it is up to your conscience whether you should follow or stay behind. But never do something you don't want to do, even if it isn't sinful. Everyone might be eating strawberries but you shouldn't eat them if they give you hives. It is sound advice to stick to one's opinions (unless they are sinful). "The way of pleasing men is hard, but blessed are they who please God. He is not a free man who is afraid to think for himself." *
*C.H. Spurgeon, The Complete John Ploughman: Combined Edition of John Ploughman's Talk and John Ploughman's Pictures (Christian Focus Publications, 2007), 185.
Mariposa is a self-taught artist who captures the glories of God's creation on canvas. She has a Ph.D. in creativity and a masters degree in imagination.
Aberdeen is a book-eating, ink-drinking dinosaur from the createtus period. When he isn't falling into plot holes or taking cover from the volcano of ideas, he's hanging out with Dee-Dee the doodledactyl. Read full bio