Keep It between the Lines

Having convinced us of the importance of guarding our hearts, Solomon urged three specific actions to make this practical. We've considered the first: we are to ignore false directions (v. 24). As we said earlier, if someone you have regular contact with habitually gives you information that contradicts your road map or GPS, drop him off at the next truck stop and don’t look back! Today, we continue with Solomon’s travel motif as we learn how to focus on your destination (v. 25) and stay on the path (vv. 26–27).

Every once in a while it’s fun to load up the car and simply go wherever the road leads you, to enjoy the freedom of having no particular destination. Normally, however, whenever you pile the family into the car for a road trip, you have a specific destination in mind and an important reason for going. If you’re like me, you plan where you will stop for the night, and you’ll have a good idea of where to find food, fuel, and restrooms. In the old days, I marked the route on a current map and highlighted the points of interest to the Swindoll family. Now, of course, a GPS handles all those details.

The point is we believers have a destination: the revealed will of God. And that destination determines the route we must follow through life. Hear Solomon’s words of encouragement: “Keep your eyes on the road!” (v. 25) and “Take no detours” (vv. 26–27). You guard the fortress of your heart by knowing your destination and keeping your attention focused on where you’re supposed to go. The map has indicated the right course, so as you travel, stay glued to the itinerary. Let me illustrate this with a real-world example.

A young man graduated high school with dreams of becoming a police officer. He attended a college several hours from home, where he enrolled to earn a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. His freshman year, however, took him on a two-semester detour through parties and mischief. On one occasion, someone dared him to take a license plate from a police cruiser as a decoration for his dorm room. He not only accepted the challenge, but he made it the first of a collection. Over the next several weeks, he acquired a stack of more than twenty police license plates!

Then, the inevitable. A routine room inspection led to his arrest. During his night in jail, he had to face an entire squad of extremely peeved cops. His dreams of becoming a police officer nearly came to an end. Cities don’t want to hire officers who have a criminal record. Fortunately, the judge gave the young man an opportunity to have his record expunged in exchange for many hours of community service. He eventually graduated and enjoyed a distinguished career as a police officer. That was grace for a young man who took his eyes off the road. He momentarily forgot his destination, and his foolishness placed his vocational calling in grave jeopardy.

You have a destination. God created you for a specific purpose (Psalm 139:13–16). So He calls you not only to walk uprightly and obediently, but to fulfill your destiny. Therefore it is key to guard your heart by knowing God personally and experientially; by discerning His revealed will; by shutting out all that distracts you from that calling; and by steadfastly walking the path He has ordained. Protect your mind and don’t settle for anything less than God’s best.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Failure’s Not Forever

Many messages both in- and outside the church try to tell us we don’t measure up. But to whose standard? This page shows how God can use even failure to do His mighty work in and through us.