FREEDOM AND ITS LIMITATIONS
"A man's heart devised his way; but Jehovah directs his steps" Prov. 16:9
This is a very profound word. The more carefully it is considered, the more challenging does it become. It recognizes the FREEDOM OF THE HUMAN WILL; and then sharply defines the LIMITATIONS OF THAT FREEDOM. "A man's heart devises his way." That is a recognition of the truth of which we are constantly reminded in these sacred writings, namely that the heart, the realm of desire, is the most potent factor in personality. It is also a clear declaration that conduct is directed by the heart, by desire. That is the measure of human freedom. A man can and does devise his own way under the direction of his heart. If desire be evil and sinful, the way devised is evil. If desire be good, the way devised is good. But that is not all the truth about life. This also is true: "Jehovah directs his steps." Every action of a man, whether in answer to the inward desire of good or evil, is an action in a realm of law from which there is no escape. The steps of evil and the steps of good are directed by Jehovah. THAT IS TO SAY THAT NO MAN CAN STEP OUTSIDE THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD, NO MAN CAN DEVISE A WAY THAT ENABLES HIM TO ESCAPE FROM GOD. The warmth of the fire which blesses is God's action. The heat of the fire which blasts is God's action. I can devise my way with regard to the fire, but the steps I take are directed, governed, by God. I can, if I will, answer the lusts of the flesh, devising my way accordingly; but God will direct my steps, and the destruction which comes is the result. I can, if I will, yield myself to the lure of the spirit, devising my way accordingly; but still God directs my steps, and the realization of life which follows is the effect of that directing which arrives at perfection (Jude 24).