by Pastor Ola Joseph Kolawole
I will be focusing on three verses: 12, 15 & 34. I will dwell on verse 12 and make quick passing remarks on verses 15 and 34.
As usual, I will use different versions and I will post on each verse separately for easy referencing. Let’s get started.
(GNT) “What you think is the right road may lead to death.”
(ICB) “Some people think they are doing what’s right. But what they are doing will really kill them.”
(MSG) “There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell.”
(TPT) “You can rationalize it all you want and justify the path of error you have chosen, but you’ll find out in the end that you took the road to destruction.”
We all know this verse, right? There are two ways I can momentarily think of regarding how this proverb may apply. The first relates to our salvation and the other to our destiny. (Of course, both are linked.)
1. SALVATION APPLICATION
Here’s the point I want to make here: there are many church-attending active-in-service Christians who THINK they are saved but are not. Such people have chosen a part that “leads straight to hell”.
So the point here is to understand what ‘Genuine Salvation’ looks like, lest you settle to continue on a path that seems right but is far from right.
Let us begin by understanding WHAT SALVATION IS NOT.
Salvation is NOT the emotional response you gave to a preacher’s “all heads bowed, all eyes closed, raise up your hand to give your life to Christ” plea. If it is not founded on a genuine acknowledgement of the fact that you have come to the end of yourself and realized your need for a Saviour, and if it is not anchored on the understanding that you can never possibly be good enough to meet up with God’s expectation from humanity on your own, then it’s not genuine.
Many Christians claim to be saved because they entered into a transactional I-give-you-my-life-so-you-can-do-this-and-that-for-me relationship with God; it’s got nothing to do with their acknowledgement of their utter depravity and their realisation of their need for God’s saving grace — that’s not genuine salvation.
If your salvation is genuine, it brings you into a covenant relationship — a partnership—with God Himself being on both sides of the covenant, thus guaranteeing its eternal security. As a partnership, you have roles to play in maintaining the relationship, but even those roles are being performed not by your strength or personal resolve, but by God’s divine empowerment “For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.” (Philippians 2:13 TLB).
PS: I did a series of videos on this (in the context of helping some folks understand ‘Once Saved Always Saved’) and I will share links to watch them at the end.
2. DESTINY APPLICATION
In this part, my emphasis will be on the fact that NOT EVERY OPPORTUNITY IS FROM GOD. Indeed, our journey to the full realization of our destiny as individual believers will be by choosing per time the choice that takes us further in the track of God’s will for our lives. However, there are many believers who jump at every and any opportunity — that’s disastrous.
How do you discern if an opportunity is from God? I wrote a book on this titled “Is This Opportunity From God?: 7 Checkpoints for Discerning Divine Opportunities” and I will be sharing a copy with us at the end. But here’s the summary of the seven points that can help you discern if an opportunity you are considering is actually from God or not.
1. An opportunity from God will not contradict the scriptures.
2. An opportunity from God won’t hinder you from becoming more like Jesus.
3. An opportunity from God will be confirmed by fellow believers in your community.
4. An opportunity from God will align with your calling.
5. An opportunity from God comes with peace, not pressure.
6. An opportunity from God comes in God’s time; not yours.
7. An opportunity from God will require you to depend on God.
Each of those points is expanded upon in the book. Enjoy your free copy.
(TPT) “A gullible person will believe anything, but a sensible person will confirm the facts.”
Again, this could be applied in various ways. For example, in this day and age where information is flying everywhere, it is simple (and biblical) common sense to not just believe any and everything you read or hear. I don’t know which is worse — the fact that once upon a time, we don’t like reading or the fact that now that some of us are beginning to fall in love with reading, we believe everything we read. We are not just living in an age of information; it’s also the age of conspiracy theories and fake news.
Learning happens when we are open to different views (or versions) about something and able to engage with those different views/versions until we are able to come to a personal conclusion about it. (And that conclusion can be ‘inconclusive’.)
Even in your personal engagement with the bible, don’t just believe everything a commentary or preacher says. Bring your questions to the text and wrestle with it in a conference with the true Author, the Holy Spirit. That’s how we become grounded and untossable by any strange wind of weird doctrines.
May God help us.
(TPT) “A nation is exalted by the righteousness of its people, but sin heaps disgrace upon the land.”
This version makes the point I want to make here rather clear. I’ve seen people blame governments of their nations for different things — and, indeed, deservedly so. But every nation is made up of communities which are made up of families which are made up of individuals. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the individual.
Ask yourself: if everybody in your country is like you (in terms of your character and attitude and disposition), will you honestly like to live in that country?
We all have influence — and the Holy Spirit defined _influence_ to me a couple of years ago as ‘being FLUENT in expressing what’s IN your heart’. In other words, if we will all guard our heart diligently and ensure it’s a good ground for the cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit, imagine what sort of INFLUENCE we will have in our various spheres of influence… and imagine how that will radically transform our world!
May this be so.
God bless you all.