Proverbs 10:9

Proverbs 10:9 "He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known."
Church Lancaster, NY Proverbs 10:9
Recently, I threw my back out and when I do that, I don’t walk “uprightly.”  Instead, I walk twisted and “crooked.”  When I throw my back out, I walk hunched over with shorter strides and a slight limp.  When my back isn’t right, my walk isn’t right.  When my walk isn’t right, I can’t hide the fact that I have a back problem.  People will say, “uh-oh, what happened?” or “looks like someone’s back is bad again.”  You can’t hide a back problem because it impacts the way you walk.  This physical fact is what Solomon is teaching in regards to the spiritual dimension.  Our walk in life is directly connected to the moral structure of our soul.  

The person who is morally “upright” will walk freely and confidently.  The person whose moral framework is sound will go through life without reservation or hesitation.  On the contrary, the person who is morally “perverse” will walk fearfully and reluctantly.  The person whose moral framework is crooked will go through life with reservation and hesitation.  A crooked moral backbone results in shorter strides.  A twisted moral backbone results in a hunched over posture.  A torque moral spine results in a slight limp.  Immorality takes the step out of life.   When we don’t pay someone what we’re supposed to pay them, we walk very carefully lest we get caught.  When we lie, gossip and slander, we tread lightly so as to avoid getting in trouble.  When we come in late to work, we walk differently than we would if we came in on time.  When we come home after our parent’s curfew, we walk and act differently than we would if we came in before our parent’s curfew.

Immorality takes the pep out of our step.  Perversion takes the bounce out of our walk.  Hypocrisy makes our strides shorter.  Cruelty makes us walk on our tiptoes.  Lying makes us fearful of every step we take.  This proverb reminds me of a line from a movie I saw years ago.  In the movie, a man was interviewing a former convict who was famous for escaping prisons and when he was asked how he got caught, the escapee said that he didn’t get caught but instead turned himself in.  This intrigued the interviewer which prompted him to ask why the man would turn himself in.  He answered, “I was tired of looking over my shoulder.”  Breaking God’s rules leads to a life of looking over your shoulder.  You can’t walk “surely” when you’re always looking over your shoulder.

This proverb gives us the key to personal confidence, which the world views differently than does the Bible. Personal confidence does not stem from talent or success.  It does not stem from one’s upbringing or from training.  Personal confidence stems from personal holiness.  A holy person has no reason to look over his or her shoulder.  An upright person has no reason to spiritually hunch over.  An upright person has no reason to spiritually limp or shorten their strides.  An upright person is not afraid of what people will discover or uncover about them because such a person has nothing to hide.
 
When addressing personal confidence, it is important to note that an upright person is not arrogant or proud, otherwise such a soul would not be upright.  Uprightness brings confidence without arrogance because that very uprightness was produced by the fear of God.  In Proverbs 14:2, Solomon said, “He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD.”  To the world, personal confidence is a reliance on self.  To the Bible, personal confidence is the result of believing and following the principles of Scripture.  Because the fear of God produces holiness, a holy person is not confident in himself; he is instead confident in God honoring the Biblical principles that he or she is following.  For example, a person who “honors the Lord with his substance” (Proverbs 3:9) can be confident and walk “surely” because his confidence is in God’s promise to fill his “barns with plenty” (Proverbs 3:10).  Such a person’s confidence is not in his giving as much as it is in God’s promise.
 
When the fear of God produces uprightness, that uprightness will then produce personal confidence.  And because the fear of God is the source of that holiness, an upright person will be aware of self-confidence.  It is the fear of God that helps “him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).  Who we are before God is what determines how we look before man.  Who we are on the inside is what determines how we appear on the outside.  A morally-straight backbone will result in a confident stride while a morally-crooked backbone will result in a compromised stride. 

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