Making a Course Correction

The Path  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  39:44
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Last week we began a series called The Path. All of us are headed on a path in life. The direction you are headed in always determines your destination. If you are headed north, eventually you will get to Canada. You may have all the intentions in the world to go to the Beach on the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean, but unless you go a different direction than North you will not get there.
Sometimes, in our life, when we start to realize that we are going the wrong way, we need to take a Detour.
(Show slide of a Detour sign)
If you have your Bibles go with me to Proverbs chapter 27. We read one verse today, number 12.
Before we read this verse, I want to read a few verses in Proverbs to help make my point today. See if you can identify the word that appears twice in these two verses.
Proverbs 1:3–4 NIV
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—
The word is

Prudent - to know what to do, to exercise good judgment or having common sense

We don’t use this word much, but the book of Proverbs uses it a lot. Listen to these verses.
Proverbs 19:25 NIV
25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge.
Proverbs 12:16 NIV
16 Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.
Proverbs 14:15 NIV
15 The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.
Proverbs 22:3 NIV
3 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
Now look at our text:
Proverbs 27:12 NIV
12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
Did you see that? It is the exact same proverb. It is recorded a second time. Why would God record this Proverb twice? Here’s what I think. Proverbs is a book about wisdom. I believe that God put this verse in here twice because He felt like it was something important for you to hear. Listen to it again.
Proverbs 27:12 NIV
12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
Remember that our path is important. The road that we choose in life will determine our destination. The question is...

How do you choose the right path?

How do you figure out what path you should be on? Or in some cases, how do you figure out what path to get off of?
What this Proverb is telling us is the primary difference between the prudent and the simple is not what they see but how they respond to what they see.
Look at it again.
Proverbs 27:12 NIV
12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
Both of them see danger. One responds by taking a detour and the other keeps going and hopes that the danger will never arrive.
It’s kind of like an ostrich who buries his head in the sand: “If I can’t see it, it can’t see me. If I ignore what I know is out there, it can’t hurt me.”
So how do you choose the right path?

1. The Prudent Make Course Corrections.

Have you ever driven down the road and come to a sign in the middle of the road that says Detour. What that sign is telling you is that there is possibly danger up ahead in the middle of the road and you need to make a detour to avoid it. What happens if you continue to travel down that road? You are going to end up in a heap of trouble.
Now I know that life is a little more complicated than that, but part of choosing the right path is getting off the wrong path. It is time for you to see the danger ahead and say, “this behavior, this habit, this relationship, this whatever you want to name it, is leading me somewhere that’s going to hurt, so I’m going to get off of this path and get on a better one.”
And Unlike the prudent...

2. The Simple Keep Right on Going.

When a prudent person senses that a relationship is moving in an unhealthy direction, they do something. The simple keep going.
When a prudent person sees trouble on their financial horizon, they do something. The simple keep spending.
When a prudent person realizes that God is the most important person in the universe, and their relationship with him isn’t growing, they do something about it. The simple keep doing whatever they were doing that took their time away from God.
Just to be clear. Look at the second half of that proverb. It says, “the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” The penalty for what? For refusing to act on what they see. They pay the penalty because they see no connection between the choices of today and the experiences of tomorrow. They overlook the fact that every path has a destination. Sometimes you have to make a detour.
The really sad part about not making course corrections: not only does the simple person himself pay a penalty, but often a lot of people around him pay a penalty too. His wife, his children, his co-workers. The list of people effected could go on.
After hearing this, none of us want to be called a simple. But no matter how old you are and you see a problem in the future because of your path, you need to get off that path. If you don’t, you are “simple”.
So, how do you choose the right path?

3. Prudent People Know that it’s Not What They SEE that Makes a Difference, it’s What They DO.

So, they do things. They make course corrections.
Here are 4 ways that you can make course corrections in your life.

1. You DO Something!

Here is something that you may have heard me say before.

If you always do what you always did, then you always get what you always got.

If the road you are on is leading to destruction get off the road.
You take action. You step off a path and get on another one. This isn’t always easy because we are creatures of habit. We naturally do what we’re used to doing. If we’re used to overeating, overeating feels natural to us. If we’re used to losing our temper, losing our temper is natural to us. If we’re used to looking at pornography on the internet, then that’s what is natural to us. Momentum carries us in the same direction, so to change direction means you almost always give up something.

2. You Give Up Something

Think about it this way. When you see danger, it almost always requires sacrifice, which is why we don’t do it.
And here is the ironic part. When prudent people act, they often look foolish. They do things that others aren’t doing; they swim against the stream. They act as if then is now and change course before the wall ever hits them or they ever hit the wall.
And when you behave prudently, you usually will suffer embarrassment.

3. You Must be Willing to suffer Embarrassment

Why? Because nobody else is doing it.
Several years ago, before 2008, the economy seemed to be doing pretty good and everyone was buying and enjoying life. The housing market was booming. Builders were building faster than they could sell because people were buying. Some people could see danger ahead and starting saving instead of buying. Then in 2008 the bottom fell out and people were loosing their shirts. The market dropped and business’s were filing for bankruptcy. Those that were saving during this time didn’t seem so foolish after all did they.
When you decide to change course, you might suffer embarrassment because nobody else is doing. Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

4. Breathe a Sigh of Relief.

This Proverb kind of reminds me of the story of the three little pigs.
You remember the story: One builds his house out of straw; one builds his house out of sticks. When the big bad wolf comes along, he huffs and puffs and he blows their houses down. Solomon would call those two “simple pigs.”
The third pig in the story was a prudent pig. He built a house out of bricks. Why? Because he saw danger coming and built a refuge!
We all know that life is going to bring us challenges. When are facing a fuel challenge right now. Gas prices keep going up. Food prices are going up. You can’t get some items even. But eventually, there will be a time when those prices go down again. Prudent people plan for it.
If you are married, some type of challenge will stretch and strain your relationship at some point. Prudent people know that, so they don’t take their marriages for granted. They work on them in the good times so they have more strength to weather the bad times.
It’s time that we set priorities for our life. We can’t control everything that happens in our life but we can make the important ones a priority. Here is the order I would work on.

1. Spiritual 2. Relational 3. Moral 4. Physical 5. Financial

First and foremost you need to make God and your time with Him number one.
Matthew 6:33 NIV
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
If we loved God enough, we’d actually spill our influence over into our families, our church and into our community.
Take one last look at our Proverb today.
Proverbs 27:12 NIV
12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
Here is your homework for this week.
Be sure to come back next week. I’m going to show you that your heart matters.
Be sure to continue reading the book of Proverbs.
Join us on Wednesday nights for Connect Groups. We have Bible study in here for the Adults and Royal Rangers and Girl’s Ministries in the student center for our students.
Last, Make some sort of course correction in your life.
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