“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:”
I am never shocked when I hear of someone going the way of the world or following the spiritual ways of Balaam. Over the years of my ministry, I have observed people who were supposed to be stalwarts of the faith stray into progressive worship and lose the standards they once held. I’ve watched people who used to be avid soul winners and pillars of a church become people who look like they never attended church. What is it that causes someone who once used to be strong to become a worldly, progressive believer? Proverbs 3 shows five causes of why people stray from the faith.
First, unprincipled living causes people to stray from the faith. The verse above says, “…forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:” Too many people rely on the feelings of their heart instead of on the principles of God’s Word for direction. Relying on the feelings of your heart for spiritual direction always leads to “good ideas” that are not good ideas. Good ideas have led many people astray. Let me remind you of Proverbs 16:25 which says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Just because it may seem like a good idea doesn’t make it right. Sticking to spiritual routines will keep you from allowing spiritually progressive ideas to pull you away from the faith.
Second, time away from truth’s influence causes people to stray from the faith. Verse 2 says, “For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” God warns about not forgetting God’s law in the “length of days.” You must be careful not to let your time away from those whom God used to help establish your faith cause you to stray from the faith. Just because your spiritual influences have gone to Heaven or have fallen in sin doesn’t give you a right to become like the world. Truth is truth no matter what others do. If you don’t want to stray from the faith, you are going to have to guard against time away from spiritual influences to water down your faith.
Third, injustices have caused people to stray from the faith. Verse 3 says, “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee…” Be careful about allowing what you perceive as an injustice cause you to become bitter towards what you believe. Beware of those who become “spiritual warriors” to correct their perceived injustices of the old paths. Our job is not to correct the past, but to do right in the present. Trying to correct the past doesn’t do anything to make you do right in the present. Stop trying to correct the “injustices” of the past and just do right today. You can’t correct “injustices” from the past, but you can do right today.
Fourth, faithlessness has caused people to stray from the faith. Verse 5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart…” A lack of faith has caused many to excuse away their ability to do right today. A weak faith always leads a believer to live a worldly lifestyle. You must learn to live by faith so that you continue to trust God and His ways.
Fifth, pride has caused people to stray from the faith. Verse 7 warns, “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” When you become a legend of the faith in your mind is when you will discover things that God doesn’t know. Never let pride become a stumblingblock to your faith. You will find yourself continuing in the faith if you stay humble.