“Do not those who intend evil go astray?”
The thought that anyone would deliberately intend evil is difficult to fathom; and this despite my acceptance of humankind’s fallen nature. God warns that “no man can establish himself by wickedness.” (Proverbs 12:3) Apparently some people believe their evil schemes will work to make their lives better. Instead, “an evil man is brought down by his wickedness.” (Proverbs 14:32) “The wicked [man] is destroyed by [his] own words.” (Proverbs 12:6) Therefore,”those who plot evil delude themselves;” (Proverbs 12:20) for the truth is “the renegade reaps the fruit of his conduct.” (Proverbs 14:14) “The stronghold of the wicked crumbles like clay.” (Proverbs 12:12) In the end, “the wicked man is trapped by his own falsehoods.” (Proverbs 12:13)
“To turn from evil is the highway of the upright; watch your step and save your life.” (Proverbs 16:17)
“Do not,” writes the wise man, “flatter yourself about tomorrow, for you never know what a day will bring forth.” James says, “A word with you, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there trading and making money.’ Yet you have no idea what tomorrow will bring. Your life, what is it? You are no more than a mist, seen for a little while and then dispersing. What you ought to say is: ‘If it be the Lord’s will, we shall live to do this or that.’ But instead you boast and brag, and all such boasting is wrong.” (James 4:13-16)
Jesus tells us, “Set your mind on God’s kingdom and His justice before everything else, and all the rest will come to you as well. So do not be anxious about tomorrow; tomorrow will look after itself. Each day has troubles enough of it own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)
God warns us not to brag about our own deeds; those we plan for today or tomorrow. We are not to be arrogant, saying that we will do this or that. We are also not to worry about our futures with anxiety about what might happen or not happen to us. Instead we are to “set [our] minds on God’s kingdom,” recognizing that “it is God who works in [us], inspiring both the will and the deed, for His own good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13)
“A man may think he is always right, but the Lord fixes a standard for the heart.”
A person justifies his acts to himself. For example, if you are running late to an important meeting and many are waiting on you, is it right to run a red light if there are no cars coming in either direction? Some say, ‘Yes.’ Others say, ‘No.’ Some are just bewildered, knowing they’d consider running the light.
Whatever you decide, you justify your decision to yourself as the correct one. Otherwise, if you are like most people, you won’t do that which you’ve decided is wrong. In order to commit an illegal or immoral act, you must first decide it is ‘not so bad,’ ‘the correct or better thing to do in this situation,’ or ‘okay because everyone else is doing it.’
You see yourself as being in the right.
“But the Lord fixes a standard for the heart,” writes Solomon. Jesus knows that it is what comes out of the heart that defiles a man. And, unfortunately, a person’s heart is deceitful above all things, says Jeremiah.
God’s standard is high; fixed so high we can not attain to it. We must place ourselves under the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ where God’s mercy overshadows us. Here we are justified not by ourselves, but by God Himself. Rejoice! I say again – Rejoice!