Proverbs 14: 12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
What is right and how can we know?
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
Doing what is right can only be decided by God. He is the one who created us and thus sets the standard. The internal struggle in all of us is deciding for ourselves what is right and wanting to contradict God thinking that we know better.
Judging someone just because of something I think is wrong is never the right thing to do. For one thing, it may be right in God’s eyes and even if it is wrong, it’s not my role to judge.
Romans 14: 1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval.
So what is right?
Was it right for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart?
Exodus 9: 12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and just as the Lord had predicted to Moses, Pharaoh refused to listen.
Was it right for the Israelites to completely destroy their enemies?
1 Samuel 15: 2 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. 3 Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.”
It may seem right to pay all of your bills first, before tithing, but is that what God desires?
It may seem right to get my tasks done first, and then make time for God. I used to think this way, but now I know that that is not right for me. Although I can deduct this lesson from the Bible, Jesus taught me this first hand. This is why knowing our Creator personally is crucial so that we can learn first hand what is right on a daily basis and be convicted of it. Who determines right from wrong?
Let’s learn from Eve
Although Eve knew in her mind that eating the fruit was wrong, she had little or no conviction over it. She had not learned that lesson in her heart.
God’s command: Genesis 2: 15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
The Lie: Genesis 3: 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
Just like with Eve, the devil always has a way of questioning that which we already know is right and we can either “not depend on your own understanding” or go with what satan makes us think is right but is always an illusion.
The ultimate question for everyone on the planet then becomes “Can I trust God to know what is right for me?” Can I disregard my upbringing, teaching, and worldly experiences and cling to the path that God has for me?
Reading the Bible is not enough
Simply reading the Word of God is not enough. We need to meditate on the Holy Bread of God, plead with God to transform us into His own image (His original intent) and wait patiently, trusting that He will be faithful to complete that which He’s started in us.
Only then can we learn in our hearts what is right. Only God knows exactly what we need so who am I to think I can find it in “Self” magazine? After all, if He defines and determines what is right, then doesn’t He know what is right for me?
Jeremiah 18: 1 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.
5 Then the Lord gave me this message: 6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.
A matter of submission
To me, this is all about letting God be God and me be His humble servant. As soon as I start getting these roles reversed, I no longer ask Him what is right and determine that for myself. It is a matter of submission.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in people.
Psalm 1: 1b He feared God and stayed away from evil.
Working at a church may seem right and please the pastor, but if it is at the expense of your wife or husband and causes you to neglect those in your immediate ministry, then I would say it might be wrong.
Only God knows what is right for you to do, and only you can know what that is by remaining in Him.
There is no other way than to trust and obey!
John 15: 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
When we say in our own minds “I don’t know what to do” we have a choice between asking others and asking God. He promises to direct our steps. Admitting that “we don’t know” is a place of humility, which allows us to be used by God, because He gladly helps us and that brings glory to Him.
James 1: 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
Will you do what it takes to know what is right?
“Dear God, You are the Potter and I am the clay, help me to be your humble servant. Help me know what is right in your eyes, not mine. Thank you for continually teaching me from your Word so that I may have knowledge and understanding. In Jesus’ name, amen.”