Proverbs 22: 5 – In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his heart stays far from them.
When I was a kid, I sometimes played in a briar patch. Really. I would pretend that the briars were an evil army, and I had to fight them and slay them. It never surprised me when I got cut or scratched – after all, I was in a briar patch! I figured that was the price I had to pay for justice.
Looking back now, that memory makes me smile, but not because I accomplished anything. I smile at my youthful folly . . . not my accomplishment. For all of my imaginative battles and the great victories that they produced, I can’t remember ever making even a dent in that field of briars. Each day, when I came back, they still consumed that part of the woods in their twisted grip.
That memory makes me think of Solomon’s advice in Proverbs 22: 5. He says, In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his heart stays far from them. In other words, Solomon tells us that this world is filled with dangerous paths, and the only way to protect yourself – the only way to keep your heart from being cut and ensnared, is to stay away from those paths. Don’t play there. Choose a different place to walk.
So many Christians ignore this advice and then pay the price. We wink at sin; flirt with it; assume that we are somehow invincible against its effects. The result of that attitude is often that we lose ourselves in the thickets. We become trapped by the very thorns we thought we could ignore, and as a result, our hearts suffer.
Solomon’s advice here is simple – stay away! Don’t try to ignore sin. Flee from it!