September 12, 2023

Leaving the Straight Way

2 Peter 2:12-22

They have left the straight way and wandered off. . . .

—  2 Peter 2:15

For the past fifteen years I have lived in the northeastern United States, where roads often meander all over the landscape. Make a wrong turn, and you often discover that it can take a long time to find your way back to the right path. I’m thankful for the map program in my cell phone!

Peter describes the false teachers of his day as people who have gone off in the wrong direction. What leads people off course? Peter mentions the attractions of pleasure, greed, pride, lust, and the promise of false freedoms. All of these things and more lead us on meandering paths that can quickly bring us away from where God would have us go.

The “wages of wickedness” can also be appealing. Balaam was an example of someone who thought sin could offer a shortcut to a good life (see Numbers 22). But that wouldn’t work, and Balaam had to be rebuked by his donkey before he could see the truth! In a similar way, we might think a financial scheme will get us what we want. And when we realize we have gone wrong, we may well have caused many people lots of harm and damage.

God invites us to embrace Christ as our Lord and Savior— the one who directs us and saves us from our wrong turns. Follow him, and let him keep you on the way!

Lord, we have a hard time sticking with your directions for our lives. By your Spirit, keep us on the right path, and lead us home with you. Through Jesus we pray. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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