Living By What Seems Right
Prov 21:2All a man's ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart.
What exactly does it mean to live by what seems right? This passage is not speaking about our conscience that we have all been created with, but living in a way that is based upon a feeling of what may seem to be the right way to a man. People live their entire lives by following what only seems to be right to them and they base their whole philosophy on spiritual matters, including the eternal afterlife, on that.
Recently I was listening to a Christian radio show where they were discussing the evidence against the Mormon religion and the sources the Mormon religion uses such as The Book of Mormon and The Pearl of Great Price. Anyone who researches the validity of these sources will find that the evidence overwhelmingly proves that they are false and are in opposition to the Bible. In just this one short radio program they were able to expose many problems with The Pearl of Great Price. Some Mormons even called in to the show and confessed that the evidence against their doctrine is too difficult to overcome. But most of them, even when faced with the hard facts, would not even consider the mere possibility they were living in error and gambling with their eternal life. One caller explained the reason for this, and his answer exemplifies the passage we mentioned above. He is doing what seems right to him. His experience (and continual experiences) gives him the false assurance that what he believes about God is true. He felt a burning in his bosom, he had a religious experience, he feels like he is in touch with God as a Mormon, and if he left the Mormon religion he would feel like he was doing the wrong thing. The evidence against the Mormon religion did not mean anything to him, even though the evidence was very clear and precise. He is holding on to what feels like it is from God and that is why he is a Mormon. This is true for just about every false religion and denomination in the world. Ultimately, these people are placing their trust in an experience they have had based upon what they have personally seen, heard or felt. Because they have felt or continue to feel some sort of presence of God, they continually strive to reach this feeling of being in touch with God – usually by trying to do all the “right” things based upon what their religion teaches or demands.
Here at Guided by Truth we strive to share the truth on these subjects from the Scriptures. In these endeavors we are often faced with the challenge of overcoming the most common resistance that people have in believing the truth; their own personal feelings or experiences. How do we refute the claim of someone who believes they have had a feeling, a vision, a dream, or a message from God spoken directly to them? We must have an objective source to to turn to to test these things, and God has given us such a resource; the Bible. When we read the Bible we will discover that God does not speak to us in any of these ways. The Bible teaches us that we are not to rely on feelings or experiences to determine the truth. This should be a great relief to anyone who is trying to determine if a feeling or a special experience was actually from God. We can trust in the Bible alone to give us all the things needed for life and godliness.
Proverbs teaches us that all of mans ways seem right to him, but what are the consequences of trusting in what seems right?
Prov 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
The result of one living their life by what seems right to them is death. To base everything you believe on anything other than solid factual evidence is dangerous and will lead to destruction. The way that seems right to man can be many things. It it is not only feelings and experiences that people hold on to, but can also be a willingness to trust in other fallible things as well. Some people may place their faith in a large religion thinking there is safety in the majority of opinion. Some believe in things simply because of the traditions they accept as truth. These things will also cause people to do what seems right to them but these can also lead to destruction. It is dangerous to base your eternal existence on what seems right to man. Consider the following examples:
Imagine that you are planning a trip that involves booking a flight. As you speak to the attendant she informs you that you can fly at the normal price with an experienced, well trained pilot or you can fly for free by using a pilot that flies strictly by his instincts, not using any instruments or navigational tools. One pilot uses his instincts, the other pilot will use all the appropriate tools and conventions to make sure his flight path is correct and precise. Wisdom dictates that we would choose the pilot who was well trained and would fly his plane as accurately as possible.
Another example might be that of a man who decided to be a brain surgeon but never went to medical school. He figured he would perform surgery on others by doing what seems like it would be the correct method. Would you commit your life to this kind of individual? No matter how much this “doctor” explained to you that he is right because he feels that he is right, you would not let this person operate on you. It would be foolish to do so. Anyone putting their lives in the hands of a surgeon would expect that person to be well trained and very knowledgeable in their field. You would want them to follow the procedures that have been proved and tested. In the same manner we should not trust our eternal lives upon anything less. Why would anyone put their trust in religions, experiences and feelings rather than on solid evidence and Biblical truth? Many people live their lives trying to figure out a way that seems like it would be right to them. The Bible says that this is the behavior of a “fool” not a wise man.
Prov 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
It is a foolish person that lives their life and places their belief in something that only seems right to him, but it is the wise man that will listen to advice or council and investigate the evidence to determine what is truth. In the examples above the bad pilot should take the time to study the specific details of aviation and navigation. The doctor should go to school and study all that there is to know about medicine.
The truth of God is not based on some sort of mystical blind faith or some religious experience, but upon the foundation of solid evidence (including both internal and external evidences such as historical, scientific, archaeological and geographical) that gives credibility to the Bible. We should never base our beliefs on anything but the Bible. Anything not based upon the Bible alone fails miserably. Any feelings we may have about what seems right should always be examined against what the Bible teaches. It is utter foolishness to live in opposition to the hard facts and blindly follow a set of beliefs that are not based on truth simply because it feels right.
Prov 13:16 Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly.
Prov 15:14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
Prudent and discerning people will seek the facts and gather knowledge before making any sort of conclusions. Those who are only seeking some sort of spiritual high from a religion or organization and those who are trusting in an experience they once had are not being discerning and seeking the truth. This is folly, and in the end will only lead to death, eternal death.
It is our greatest desire for everyone to take time in their lives to actually consider whether or not what they believe is truth or error. Is your belief based on biblical fact or is it based upon the shallow and destructive ways that seem right to a man, such as; feelings, emotions, experiences, traditions, majority opinions, or what a highly respected man or woman teaches? You alone have the responsibility to search out all matters and find the truth.