Wrong Way

In case the reader missed it, Proverbs 16:25 repeats the wisdom of 14:12: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Every pedestrian and motorist knows the sunken feeling of realizing that he is going the wrong way. It is sporting to watch the freshmen on their first day of college as they stumble around campus, obviously unsure of just where Old Main is located. Many accidents result from drivers ignoring “One Way” signs in a rush to get somewhere quicker. If not for dashboard compasses and optional GPS receivers, millions more would find themselves going nowhere fast.

Some have even achieved dubious fame for going the wrong way. In the 1929 Rose Bowl, Cal center Roy Riegels picked up a fumble and lumbered 65 yards toward an undefended end zone – his own, as it turned out. His quarterback and the entire Georgia Tech defense eventually tackled him at the three-yard-line, but the damage was done – the legend of “Wrong Way” Riegels was cemented in history.

When we are a little spiritually disoriented, we are prone to get turned around the wrong way. Because our destination – Heaven – is so apparently distant, we run the risk of losing sight of it and slipping off course. At times, we are enticed by the visions of loveliness to the left and right, while at others, we are guilty of looking back with longing at the sinful lifestyle we left behind (see Luke 9:57-62). We veer off course, often without realizing it, and end up doubling back away from glory. We still think that we are lumbering toward the end zone, but it’s the wrong way.

Jesus said that he was not only the way, but also the truth and the life (John 14:1-6). Any path that he would not tread is bound to be the wrong one for us, for, “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (First John 2:6).

It is our Lord who warned, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14).

It is human nature to seek out the path of least resistance – to choose the open lane or the shortest line at the check-out, yet when it matters most, we have to be willing to take the route less traveled. We have to be among the few who will take the risk, make the sacrifice and invest the time, emotion and energy in a journey that might not pay immediate dividends, but which promises eternal reward (see Second Corinthians 4:16-5:7).

Even when you feel you are nearing the goal line, listen to your quarterback – the captain of your salvation – and be willing to turn around if he shows you that you have unwittingly been heading the wrong way.