Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 14:14
“The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied with his.” – Proverbs 14:14
One of the saddest things I have seen are people who confess their loyalty to God and Christ, but do not live in a manner that shows evidence of it. Sometimes people do not actually accept the ways of Christ and obey them, but simply declare an acceptance of Christ without ever actually becoming His followers. However, many actually become believers but then are led astray by their own desires and ways. It is this second idea I want to discuss today.
The first part of our focus verse speaks of this. “The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways” Proverbs 14:14a. One who is a ‘backslider in heart’ is someone whose heart has departed from the Lord. It is leading them away from what God desires, and actually commands, them to do. I remember having a discussion with a Christian who daily watched some inappropriate television programs, essentially soap operas, that showed people in sinful behavior and foul speech through the entire program. I asked them why they felt a compulsion to watch these shows even though the activities shown went against the ways of God. Her answer shocked me. She said, well, it is my little ‘sin’. She was OK with it because it was just a small sin, it would not affect her. However, she was deceived because we are called to stop all sin. “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:6-8.
Now, we will at times slip up and sin. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9. The idea of our focus verse is not that we may at times sin, but that we make sin a part of life. We do not backslide if we recognize what we did as sin, ask for forgiveness from God, and then focus on not sinning again. The backslider is one who recognizes their action is sinful but continues in it, because his heart desires to do so. In the second part of this verse, “But a good man will be satisfied with his.” Proverbs 14:14b, speaks of one who is satisfied with the life God has called them to, and will not be swayed by their heart to sin. This is the main difference between the two types mentioned in Proverbs 14:14. One finds it acceptable to sin, the other does not and strives to keep his heart pure in order not to be led astray.
I want to encourage everyone reading this, including myself here, to examine ourselves and see if there is anything that may be working to lead us astray. It is important that we keep our desires in check. And we are not alone but God who is with us will help us. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. And this High Priest is gracious toward us. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16.
God loves us enough that He gave His life for us. Let us show our amazing love by desiring to live the life He has called us to. Remember what Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.