Insights for Life – Avoid Regret

27 November 2022 PM – Proverbs 4:24-27 – Insights – Scott Childs
Introduction: Someone thoughtfully said, “It is better to sleep on what you plan to do than to be kept awake by what you’ve done.” That is good advice.
            The devil is quick to point out sin’s pleasures, but he never mentions the regrets that are sure to follow. Sin brings regret!
Transition: In Proverbs 4:24-27, Solomon gives us four clear warnings to help us avoid regret.
Solomon’s first warning is to …
  1. Speak Truth (v.24)
a.         Put away a deceitful mouth.
1)         The old English word “froward” speaks of that which is distorted or crooked.
2)         How might a mouth that is distorted or crooked? I think we would agree that he is not describing the physical shape of your mouth. He is describing the words that come out of the mouth.
3)         A froward mouth then is one that changes with the circumstances. It will speak one way to friends and speak another way to parents.
4)         A person who talks like a Christian at church, but swears like a sailor among his friends, is a person with a froward mouth.
5)         The forward mouth is not yielded to the Holy Spirit.
b.         Put far from you perverse lips.
1)         The word “perverse” portrays something that deviates from the truth. A perverse judgment is one that strays from truth. A perverse measure is one that is not accurate.
2)         We have some perverse kitchen scales. They are inconsistent. They do not always read accurately. They cannot be trusted. Thus, they are of little value.
3)         In our text, perverse lips are lips that speak things that cannot be trusted. They sometimes speak truth and other times speak lies. They may talk sweet to your face and when you are not near, they stab you in the back.
4)         Turn with me to James 3:9-12. James is describing a person who has perverse lips. Notice his examples in nature that never change.
  • Solomon clearly challenges us to put the froward (i.e., changeable) mouth and the perverse (i.e., inconsistent) lips FAR FROM US.
Solomon’s second warning is to …
2.        Direct Your Eyes (v.25)
a.         Let your eyes look directly forward
1)         When I was in school, one of my coaches told us that to do our best in a race, we must fix our eyes on the goal and ignore those around us. We must place our full concentration on the goal. That is what God is telling us here.
2)         What is your goal in life?
a)         For many people, their life’s goal is to have a good time and to gain as much wealth as possible.
b)         That is a very shortsighted goal. Our goal ought to look beyond this life into eternity.
3)         The Apostle Paul had an eternal goal. He wrote in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
4)         It ought to be our goal to live so that the Lord will be able to say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
5)         Once you know your goal, lock your eyes directly on that goal and run toward it.
b.         Let your eyelids look straight before you
1)         Our eyelids shade and protect our eyes. When we point our eyelids in the right direction, they protect our eyes.
2)         The devil will place many billboards and advertisements along life’s path to lure us off the straight road. We must keep our eyes on the goal and not look around as we journey.
3)         Achan looked at the treasures in Jericho. Samson looked at the sensual pleasures Delilah offered. David looked at the immodesty of Bathsheba. Absalom looked at the glory of being king. Gehazi looked at the riches of Naaman. Peter looked around at the raging waves. In each case, looking around cost them dearly.
  • Thus, Solomon urges us to keep our eyes on the goal.
Solomon’s third warning is to …
3.        Plan Your Paths (v.26)
a.         You must ponder your path
1)         To “ponder” is to weigh the options. It also suggests to make something straight or level. Ancient scales were balance scales. When the weight was correct, the scale arms were level.
2)         We must weigh our path options to make sure they are on the level – honest, right, and proper.
3)         Not all roads lead to heaven. Jesus told us of the broad way that leads to destruction and the narrow way that leads to life.
4)         Not all paths in life lead to God-honouring goals. If you do not carefully weigh your path options and follow the right path, you will not reach the right goal.
5)         During one school holiday, while I was driving at night the 8.5-hour trip from Bible College to home, I missed my exit and drove for nearly an hour before discovering I was going the wrong direction. That was not a happy discovery!
b.         Firmly establish your ways
1)         The word “established” describes ways that are fixed, firm, stable, prepared, or arranged.
2)         If you are to avoid going the wrong direction in life, you must carefully and prayerfully prepare and arrange your way. Firmly establish it in your heart and mind.
  • Solomon’s wise advice is to plan and prepare carefully before travelling life’s journey.
Solomon’s final warning is to …
4.        Stay on Track (v.27)
a.         Do not exit!
1)         In 2018, Melody and I had to go through Atlanta, GA at 5:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. That was not enjoyable. Six lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic rushed southward through that busy city. I was terrified. With Melody helping me avoid exit lanes and both of us praying, we made it through safely.
2)         Solomon warns, “Turn not to the right or to the left. Stay in the centre lane. Avoid the exits. Keep going straight.”
3)         Life can be hectic at times. When the pressure is on, keep going straight. Do not exit!
b.         Turn your foot away from evil
1)         When our text says, “remove thy foot” it literally means cause your foot to turn away.
2)         It is easy to yield to the lure of evil. Our flesh is always ready to justify taking an evil exit. It takes a deliberate action to turn your foot away from evil.
3)         When your flesh desires to follow a path that you know is evil, stand strong and force your foot to turn away from that evil way.
  • Solomon’s instruction is clear; we must stay on track. We must not exit the straight road. We must deliberately cause our foot to turn away from evil.
Conclusion: Solomon has given us four warnings to help us avoid regret in life. Speak the truth. Direct your eyes. Plan your path. Stay on track. They involve our mouth, our eyes, our mind and our will. How have you been going?
            If the Lord has used these verses to show you something that needs to be changed in your life so that you can avoid regret, please do not ignore the Spirit’s prompting. Let him have his way this evening.
Song: His Way with Thee – 367