“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27 (NIV)
I knew the margin for error was small; one slight drift to the left or right, and damage would ensue. So I glued my eyes to my rearview mirror and clutched my steering wheel with a white-knuckled grip.
For years, I’d avoided parking my minivan in our garage, fearful I might back into our narrow garage door opening. However, my scorching-hot driver’s seat, courtesy of the Georgia summer heat, persuaded me otherwise that day.
With determination, I inched my car backward when suddenly a loud “Mom!” disrupted my focus. As I glanced over my shoulder at my son in the back seat, a cringe-worthy crunching sound alerted me — I had wandered off the straight and narrow path, drifting toward destruction.
I had no idea I had turned the steering wheel slightly toward the right; a misplaced focus caused a subtle yet dangerous drift. My face burned with shame at the damage I’d caused.
Like the old hymn says, I’m also “prone to wander” in my spiritual life. More than anything, I desire to walk wisely and live faithfully for Christ. Yet I easily drift toward the desires of my flesh and cares of this world.
King Solomon understood the propensity of God’s people to stray, so he pleaded with his sons in Proverbs 4 to pursue God’s wisdom at all costs. He ended the passage with three instructions:
- “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you” (Proverbs 4:25). What I fix my eyes on is what I will follow. So, to walk wisely, I must keep my eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of my faith. (Hebrews 12:2) No news outlet, self-help book or social media influencer will suffice.
- “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (Proverbs 4:26). Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (NIV). Carefully living out my faith presents a divine opportunity to proclaim Christ.
- “Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:27). Psalm 119:9 reveals we can keep our feet from evil by living according to God’s Word. But a determined will isn’t enough; wise living is only accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer.
When I detour from these instructions, I feel mashed up and broken, just like my dented-in car door. Thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient to repair what is broken and redirect my steps.
Precious friends, distractions will come. But distractions needn’t completely derail us if we’ll keep our eyes on Jesus.
So, when suffering and tragedy discourage, look to Jesus. When divisions and disunity dishearten, look to Jesus. When tempted to compare yourself to others, look to Jesus.
Come what may — just keep looking up.
Heavenly Father, when distractions surround me, help me keep my eyes on You. By Your grace enable me, and by Your Spirit empower me, to walk wisely for Your name’s sake. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (NIV)
What distracts your focus from Jesus and causes you to drift from walking in His ways? In what areas of your life is God prompting you to walk wisely to be a godly witness to others?
We would love to hear how God is working in your heart! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2022 by Beth Knight. All rights reserved.
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