The Way of a Man is Not in Himself


Introduction: Jer. 10:23 (The Bible teaches that man does not have the ability within himself to provide his own spiritual guidance. Yet we constantly try to direct our own way. Sometimes we do this by obvious rejection of God. At other times our actions are more subtle. Sometimes we claim to follow God, and do that in many ways. Meanwhile, in specific areas of our life we follow our own judgment and impulses. Follows is a study that discusses why self direction cannot work and that we need direction from God s word.)

I. Self Direction: Prov. 20:24 (How can limited man provide his own direction? The very fact we are God s creation and he has divine intentions for us shows why humans can t discern God s design for our lives.)

    1. Intuition: I Tim. 1:4 (Some translate "questions" as speculation. That s exactly what intuition involves. Sometimes our instincts can be helpful and remarkably accurate. We tend to remember those times. But we forget how many times our intuitions are wrong. God s word indicates such speculation is not a fit guide. So don t depend on these to guide your steps.)

    2. Emotion: Prov. 28:26 (Many people regard emotions, their gut feelings as the final and most reliable yardstick. Ironically, this is extremely unreliable. The Lord teaches us that it s foolish to trust our heart [emotions] for guidance.)

    3. Reason: Prov. 16:25 (We can reason to various conclusions that seem so right. But the Lord warns us the things that seem right to us can lead to death. We just can t trust our reasoned conclusions.) I Cor. 2:4-5 (Neither can we trust the reasoning of others. Some present themselves as such experts that we would surely benefit if we followed their reasoning. Paul didn t use enticing persuasions of man s wisdom because he didn t want people to look to his reasoning for guidance.)

    4. Experience: Job 15:17 (Eliphaz appealed to his experience to indict Job as being guilty. He relied on what he had seen, on experience. God later told Job his three friends were wrong in their accusations they brought against Job. So the experience of Eliphaz was not reliable as a spiritual guide.)

    5. Tradition: Mt. 15:2-3 (The Pharisees held their traditions in high esteem. They criticized others for not following their traditions. But Christ said their traditions caused them to violate God s word. Tradition was not a reliable guide for them and it s not for us.)

II. Word Of God: Ps. 37:23, Heb. 4:12 (A good man makes his steps follow the Lord s guidance. The word of God is powerful to guide our steps. It will show whether our lives are good or evil. It will expose our intentions and guide our paths.)

    1. Sharpens Intuition: Heb. 5:12-14 (Our own intuition is utterly unreliable. But when we follow God s word, it sharpens our intuition and helps us instinctively know right from wrong. So we can use intuition that is sharpened by God s word to guide us.)

    2. Settles Emotions: Ps. 37:31 (When God s word is in our heart it settle our emotions and tempers them with godly reason. This will keep us from slipping. So our emotions can become more reliable when under the settling influence of God s word.)

    3. Guides Reason: Acts 17:2/Acts 18:4 (Paul used reason, but he reasoned WITH God s word. This was an effective tool for persuading others and guiding our steps. Reason can be valuable when it s based on God s word.)

    4. Validates Experience: Gen. 30:27/Gen. 26:24 (Laban said he had learned by experience that God was blessing him through Jacob. God had given his word to Jacob that he would bless him. So in this case, experience was right because God s word validated it. That s when our experience is meaningful. When it s validated by the teaching in God s word.)

    5. Sorts Tradition: II Thes. 2:15 (Paul told these disciples to hold fast to traditions they had learned. But these were traditions received from inspired men. Their teaching was God s way of revealing his word. So God s word helped them sort through what spiritual traditions were important and what ones were not.)

Conclusion: Ps. 1:1-3 (The man who walks in God s counsel will be blessed. It s not in you to guide your own way. Follow God s direction and you are sure to spiritually prosper.)