“I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.”–Proverbs 4:11-12
When shooting a gun, a sight picture that is off just a fraction of an inch can cause you the miss the target by several feet. In taking a journey, one step off course sets you in a direction that will cause you to miss your goal a mile. In living one small deviation from the truth can lead you down a road of error that will end in destruction. Every step must be in the right direction or we miss the mark by a wide margin. Just as pilots must continually make adjustment to stay on course we must take great care in where we are headed lest we crash and burn.To prevent this mistake we would do well to consider what Paul Chappell wrote about staying on course:
The use of the term “red herring” to describe something that distracts someone from their main goal dates back to at least the 1500s. The writer Thomas Nashe penned, “Next, to draw on hounds to a scent, to a red herring skin there is nothing comparable.” Despite this literary depiction, there appears to be little evidence that hunters actually used herring to train their dogs to stay after their prey, but the phrase stuck. It came to be used as a general figure of speech to describe a false trail that led nowhere but instead draws attention away from the main thing.
The devil is a master at using distractions to draw us away from what God intends for us to do. He is perfectly willing to use good things to keep us away from the best things. I once heard a sermon “Rabbit Chasers” in which a preacher with rural roots described how in his childhood they would take their dogs into the woods to hunt opossum but found that the dogs would stop hunting opossums to chase rabbits instead. He talked about how anything that distracts us from God’s best is a waste.
When it comes to avoiding destructive distractions, wisdom offers a great defense. Wisdom chooses the important and long-lasting over the fleeting and temporary. Wisdom rejects the quick fix in favor of the permanent solution. Wisdom shuns the approach of the world for the path of God—even when that path is narrow and not chosen by many others. In short, the more we are in touch with God’s Word and God’s wisdom, the more closely we follow in God’s path.–Stay focused on God’s plan and purpose for your life, and do not allow anything to take you off course.