“Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.”
“If the heart be directly and chiefly fixed on God, and the soul engaged to glorify him, some degree of religious affection will be the effect and attendant of it. But to seek after affection directly and chiefly, to have the heart principally set upon that, is to place it in the room of God and his glory. If it be sought, that others may take notice and admire us for our spirituality and forwardness in religion, it is then abominable pride: if for the sake of feeling the pleasure of being affected, it is then idolatry and self-gratification1”
It is a matter of presumption before God to exercise a particular arrogance regarding our dictates to worship, service and life before Him. One of the perennial thinkings of the human heart is that he, man, knows better than God how his life should be lived before Him. But man takes this a step further by audaciously waving his own predilection in the face of God and His word and demanding God’s accountability to man’s preferences, concludes God invalid for not fulfilling his (man’s) standards. The reality is that man takes delight erecting his own god that comes into conformity with his way of thinking. The Apostle Paul stated it thus in Romans 1:21-23; “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”
The inevitable error in such a proposition is that, man is found constructing a “god” that is equivalently efficacious as a block of wood or stone in dealing with his needs. To think a god of wood can effectively deal with the issues that sin has imposed on the world and mankind is as reasonable as a groundhog prognosticating the weather for the next two months. The irrationality of man’s presumption that he holds the corner on the right way is evidence that he might be the one with the wooden head. The prophet Isaiah brings to light this issue when he asks; “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. He who is too impoverished for such an offering selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman, To prepare an idol that will not totter.”(Isa. 40:18-20)
In the final analysis, it is not that man has exercised an abundance of proficiency in being wooden headed, but that the greater deficiency is that he is stone hearted. The stone heart of man has this proverbial pension for creating wooden headedness. And this wooden headedness is fond of believing that his way is the right way i.e., “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,…” He continues to ignore the fact that God has not merely stated the right way, but has personally demonstrated the right way Through the life of the Son, Jesus Christ. But Christ’s coming to earth must not be mistaken to be simply a model of idealistic righteousness; He came to fulfill the redemptive plan of God by satisfying the wrath of Holy God. This cuts through the mess of human opinion and rests righteousness on the measurement of love, which deals directly with the heart. The Lord weighs the heart on the basis of Christ’s constraining love upon our hearts. The Apostle Paul put it this way; “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died.”(II Cor. 5:14 ASV) Here the sense of to constrain is the compelling pressure of Christ’s love that causes him to abandon his own way for the way of Christ. In the end, the measure of the heart will override all opinions we might have regarding the right way. But the measure of the heart will be weighed against the nature of the effect Christ’s love has had upon our heart.
The Rev. Ray Druckenmiller is the Pastor at Manning Community Church.