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“You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors . . .” (Hosea 10:13).

TRUSTING IN OUR OWN WAY IS A PROBLEM THAT SHOWS UP IN MANY DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES. The basic problem is always pride, of course, but pride wears many different disguises. Some of those disguises are so subtle that we don’t see the danger of them.

In regard to our relationship to God, for example, we tend to view things as we wish them to be. The existence of God? We may believe there is a God because it makes us feel better. The nature of God? We may envision God in ways that harmonize with our personal preferences. And the will of God? We may feel the need to reinterpret any text that seems unreasonable to us. In all of these things, rather than bow humbly before the objective truth about God, willing to be led by the evidence, we tend to accept only the “truth” that pleases us subjectively. We trust in our “own way.”

Yet our track record (both individually and as a species) shows that our own opinions and judgments have not been sufficient to meet the challenges of life in this world. If we’re honest, we have to agree with Jeremiah when he said, “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). The essence of faith has always been trust in God’s wisdom — especially when it runs counter to our own. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8,9). We are at our wisest when we heed Solomon’s advice: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

The gospel is not a travel brochure showing various journeys to choose from; it offers just the “way of God” (Acts 18:26). The path that leads to God in eternity — the one He has laid out — will often seem narrow and illogical to us (Matthew 7:13,14). But that doesn’t matter. It only matters whether it is, in fact, “the Way” (Acts 24:14).

“The question is not whether a doctrine is beautiful but whether it is true. When we wish to go to a place, we do not ask whether the road leads through a pretty country, but whether it is the right road” (Augustus Hare).

Gary Henry — +

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