Time for a U-Turn?

Time for a U-Turn?
By: J. B. Hixson, Ph.D.

The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life. (Proverbs 16:17, NASB)

A few years ago, my family and I were taking a vacation which required us to drive across several states. At one point, we got off of the freeway and stopped at a roadside service station for gas and a restroom break. Somehow in the process of getting back on the freeway I got turned around and wound up heading the wrong direction. We drove several miles on the interstate before I realized my mistake.

No one else in the car noticed what had happened, as they were all absorbed in their books, listening to music, or napping. Naturally, I was embarrassed, and I did not want my family, especially my teenage children, to know what had happened. I knew I would never hear the end of it! Yet try as I might, I could not think of a way to reverse our direction without alerting everyone else to my blunder.

It was really quite amusing as I look back on it. I kept driving along, in the wrong direction, knowing I needed to turn around, but my pride would not let me. Eventually I exited the freeway again, U-turned, and got back on the right course. I endured a few moments of laughter and ribbing from the kids, and quickly tried to change the subject.

Sometimes on the journey of life it can be easy to lose our focus and find ourselves headed in the wrong direction. It can happen to anyone. Perhaps that is why the Bible reminds us, “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; he who watches his way preserves his life.” (Proverbs 16:17) How should we respond when we find ourselves off course? If we keep going in the wrong direction, we run the risk of suffering significant consequences. It is essential that we “walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness.” (Proverbs 2:20)

The Bible challenges us to, “Ponder the path of your feet and let all your ways be established.” (Proverbs 4:26) When is the last time you evaluated your spiritual path? It seems to me that going the wrong direction on the highway of life is not usually a conscious choice. Very few people wake up one day and decide, “I think I am going to start living a sinful, disobedient, rebellious life today.” It is usually much more subtle than that. It happens when you are not paying attention. Distracted by life’s circumstances, you begin to neglect the study of God’s Word and become inattentive to other spiritual disciplines. Before long, you have entered the southbound freeway when you should be traveling north.

When that happens, the pride of life and the lust of the flesh often keep us headed in the wrong direction. Our stubborn pride makes us too embarrassed and ashamed to admit our mistakes; and the lust of the flesh makes the sin we are committing seem so enjoyable that we don’t want to stop! First thing you know, we look up and find ourselves in Albuquerque when we meant to be in Denver.

How long has it been since you took a look at the road signs to make sure you are on the right path? Is it time for a U-turn? It may be hard at first, but the joy that follows repentance is worth far more than the temporary pleasures that accompany rebellion.

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