One of the funniest stories Faith and I have involves our third daughter around the age of 6 or 7. She’s always been quick-witted but this particular time caught us off guard. Faith was cleaning out Scarlett’s closet and I was “helping”. She found a jacket we had forgotten about and since it was going to be chilly the following day, I said, “That’s cool, Scarlett! You could wear that tomorrow!” She seemed to accept the suggestion, so we turned back to what we were doing. Then, under her breath and a with a smile in her voice, I heard her say, “Scarlett do what she want!”
If I’ve ever really wanted to do something (regardless of its eternal or temporal impact), I’ve figured out a way to make it reasonable or justifiable in my own mind. But having been made in God’s image, we step outside of natural law when we do something to our own detriment. It grinds against the fiber of our being. So, we have to find a way to side-step it in order to make it happen. The first part of the following verse speaks to this situation:
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Proverbs 16:2 ESV
What’s both magical and haunting about the Word of God is we don’t get away with anything. It is surprisingly transparent when detailing the motivations and failures of men. Yet, we still have a tendency to think we can veil our true intentions from God and skirt around the real issue. But the Lord weighs the spirit. It’s always been about intent and what’s in our hearts. So much so, He made it official in the New Covenant (when Jesus comes on the scene) when he said he’d write the law on our [their] hearts. (Jeremiah 31:33 ESV)
The next verse in Proverbs follows up by instructing, “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 ESV) I find when I’m intent on doing something counterproductive, I’m hyper-focused on me and my desires. This passage seems to indicate when we allow God to weigh in on the situation or at the very least, consider Him; our plans naturally begin to look more like what He’d want for us. And His intent for us is our ultimate good.