by Stephen Nichols
Proverbs 14:14 “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.”
When I was a kid growing up in Cody, Wyoming our family basically survived off the land. We hunted elk and deer every year and filled the freezer with that meat. We butchered it ourselves! We skinned the animals, cut up the steaks, stew meat, hamburgers and roast. I also fished quite a bit and always had big 5 and 6 pound rainbow, brown and high-bred cut throat fish in that freezer as well. I also shot rabbits for rabbit stew, etc. My father always had a great big truck garden out behind our house filled with corn, peas, squash, zucchini, melons, watermelons, tomatoes, green beans, beets, spinach, head lettuce, turnips, rhubarb, and all sorts of other delicious vegetables. A family named the Davidson’s had a milk cow and always gave us plenty of milk. We skimmed the cream off of that milk and my sister Ellen and I had as one of our chores to churn that cream into butter. My mother made homemade breads and pies and canned and froze the vegetables and stored them for the winter. We ground up grain and made flour out of it. Trips to the store were basically for sugars and salts, etc. It was a good life and I often wish America could go back to those days.
However, the best time for me was when we went to a strawberry patch to pick strawberry’s. I love strawberry’s. One particular Saturday my mother took my siblings and I to a strawberry patch to pick the strawberries. I was probably about 6 or 7 years old at the time. They handed us all baskets and told us to fill them up and they would charge by the pound. Well, my mother went one way and my sisters went another and I wandered off by myself. As it so happened, for every one strawberry that landed in my basket, I ate about 4 or 5. While they all filled 4 or 5 baskets each, I barely had a half of a basket filled. Finally, I could not eat any more and besides that I was starting to feel pretty sick so I headed back to the car. By the time we got home, I was throwing up and had broken out into hives. It was like the strawberries were trying to get out of my skin because suddenly there were red dots all over me like I had the chicken pox or something. In reality, my backsliding had filled me up and the end result was not very pleasant. I was one sick little kid.
At our church every year we have a Harvest Party on October 31st and we close the night out after the chilli and cornbread fellowship time, with a big pinata filled with candy for the kids. When that pinata is broken, just like that the kids are filling their bags with that candy. Within minutes you see their mothers scurrying around confiscating those bags of candy because if they don’t, little junior will have the whole bag eaten on the way home from church and be sick all night long.
Have you ever noticed how backsliders behave and talk when they first start down their path. They go in full force! They start just eating the full bag of the candy of whatever is their chosen sin. Then they will tell you how wonderful their life is at the present time and how things just couldn’t be better. The reality is that sin is always pretty fun at first. It tastes sweet like a fresh strawberry off the vine and yet the Bible tells us, Proverbs 23:32 “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” Eventually, we don’t hear the backslider bragging about how wonderful his life is. In time, he gets filled up to overflowing with his sin and no longer is it pleasant and fun but instead he is completely sick of it. Unfortunately by the time the backslider gets filled with his sin, his life is filled with scars that will never go away and pain will remain for a lifetime.
On the other hand is the “good man”. This is the man who has listened to the wisdom of the Word of God and discovered that his worst enemy is himself. As General Douglas MaCarthur told his son, “The greatest battle you will ever fight son, is the battle of yourself. You must win that battle!” People like to say, “The Devil made me do it!” The simple honest truth is, you and I are to blame for our actions in life, not the devil. The psychologist tells us that it is all our mothers fault because she didn’t pack us a lunch for the school field trip day and the trauma of it all caused us to be the loser we became! The cold, hard fact is that we cannot find anyone to accuse of our short comings in life. It all boils down to whether we decide to just choose the pleasures of sin for a moment, or the wisdom of God and His Word for a lifetime.
Have you ever noticed that people who end up in prison, or end up in some way destroying their lives are able to tell you where it all started. I once saw a documentary about these prisoners in a state prison. They were speaking one on one with these hardened criminals and asking them why they were in and for how long, etc. Almost to a man, these great big huge, muscle bound men would say things like, “If I hadn’t been drinking” or “If I hadn’t been with that crowd” or “I should have never gone to that party”! Every one of them could clearly look back to a decision that forever altered their life.
Young man, stop and pay attention! Stop being a fool! Stop messing around with the young men that you know in your heart are not right with God. Start listening to your parents, to your Youth Pastor, to your Pastor and to those who love you and you know are doing right in their own lives. You need to be afraid of yourself. You are a disaster waiting to happen. Your worst enemy in life is you! Be big time afraid of yourself. Trust God and trust His Word, even when you don’t understand it. You may not understand why your mother and father do not want you to watch that particular movie or listen to that music, but just trust their wisdom. They love the Lord and they love you, and in time you will understand it. The wisdom given to you by your Pastor and Youth Pastor that comes from God’s Word will spare you from a lot of heartache if you will apply it in your life.
Read our verse one more time – Proverbs 14:14 “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” Now, just listen to the wisdom of God’s Word and apply it to your life. In time, you will have the opportunity to witness others who did not use such wisdom in their lives. Your parents would not let you hang around those kids and one day they went out and got in trouble stealing some things from a business. You will be very satisfied that you obeyed your parents. Your mom and dad said they didn’t want you dating while you were in high school. You will be very satisfied when others who did not heed that kind of wisdom get pregnant before they are married and have their lives turned upside down. Your parents didn’t have booze in your house and they taught you not to drink it. You will be satisfied one day that you obeyed that wisdom, when kids you are growing up with right now become drunks and beat their wives and children or end up in prison after driving drunk and killing a person in another vehicle, or you visit them in the hospital as they die a painful death.
Just be a good boy today and obey the wisdom you are given. In time, you will be a “Good Man” and you will be very satisfied with your life while others your age are miserable. I can personally testify to you of young men and women that I grew up with whose marriages ended in divorce, whose kids hate them. I can tell you of those whom I have known that didn’t heed the Bible’s wisdom and committed suicide. How I praise the Lord that many years ago, my dear wife and I chose to by God’s grace heed and obey the Wisdom of the Bible as best we knew how. After 25 years of marriage and 25 years in the ministry together we are very “satisfied” with the life God has blessed us with. In fact, we are more than “satisfied”, we are blessed beyond measure. We have 4 wonderful children who are all saved and serving God with their lives. We have a wonderful church filled with great Christians who are serving God and reaching people with the Gospel. Our relationships with our own parents is right and a strength and blessing to our lives. Meanwhile, whenever I run into one of those people from my past that didn’t do it God’s way, they are living proof that a backslider is like a little kid that eats too much candy and gets sick. They are sick of their lives and empty. Several times I have had one of them say to me, “Boy, you sure are lucky!!”
Mark it down, friend! Luck had nothing to do with it. Decisions had everything to do with it. God has designed us with the ability to make decisions in our own will. Life is simple a series of decisions and then the consequences or results of those decisions. So with that in mind, how is it going young man? Are you on the road to one day being satisfied with your life and filled to overflowing with God’s blessings, or will you be like one of those hardened criminals or some backsliden Christian who can look back and identify where it all went wrong? Will you one day be filled with what you are doing and be sick of life altogether? Make your decisions wisely and reach your 80’s like my father has with a zest for life and a satisfaction that you did it right.
Decide Today To Be a Good Man!
by Stephen Nichols
Original article can be found at http://stevernichols.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/2693/