Riverside Community Church

Your direction determines your destination

From Proverbs 7 we find:                     

It is simply asking what direction are you heading right now. What is the direction of your life? Well then, your destination is up ahead of you.


(Illustration) During a momentous battle, a Japanese general decided to attack even though his army was greatly outnumbered. His destination was an enemy’s base camp to the north of his position. He was confident they would win, but his men were filled with doubt. He set his direction, NORTH. On the way to battle, they stopped at a religious shrine. After praying with the men, the general took out a coin and said, “I shall now toss this coin. If it is heads, we shall win. If tails, we shall lose. Destiny will now reveal itself.”

He threw the coin into the air and all watched intently as it landed. It was heads! The soldiers were so overjoyed and filled with confidence that they vigorously attacked the enemy and were victorious. After the battle, a lieutenant remarked to the general, “No one can change destiny.” At that point the general showed him the coin, both sides were heads.

The general’s direction determined his destination. His destination determined his direction. Your direction determines your destination! What is your direction, your life’s direction right now? That direction determines your destination.

Where is your nose pointing? On what path are you?


des·ti·na·tion: Definition: (noun)- the place to which someone or something is going or being sent. It is the journey's end, end of the line, landing place, point of disembarkation, finish line.

Back to Proverbs 7 and its author, Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, he discovered the futility of life when it is lived only for this world, on the wrong paths. He explored every type of pleasure and activity, every type of path.

Solomon had extreme physical pleasures He had about 1000 wives & concubines.

Solomon had wealth, extreme wealth, nothing he couldn’t buy.

Solomon had power, military might, he was top dog.

Solomon enjoyed artistic adventures in poetry, proverbs (3000) and songs (1005), botanical studies and many knowledge based disciplines.

He didn’t withhold himself from doing everything he wanted, desired or could experience. He did everything on his bucket list plus everybody else’s bucket list.

Solomon, after exploring all of the world’s pleasure and disciplines, every path, gives these concluding remarks in the book of Ecclesiastes:

 (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

 "Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil"


The books of Proverbs and its surrounding books, Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon are “Wisdom Literature.” Having intelligence means you know things. Having wisdom means you know what to do in various situations. You can be smart without being wise. Wisdom literature was written to make us wise, to help us know what to do in specific situations.


                                  The path you’re on                    where you will end up

Here’s what we all know from our own real-life experience when it comes to paths: The road you’re on determines where you’ll end up. That’s true, isn’t it? If I head west on the 401, eventually, I will end up in Toronto.


Whatever road, whatever highway, whatever path I’m on will determine where I end up. I can want to end up somewhere else. I can pack my beach towel, my sunscreen, and my Spanish dictionary with every hope that I can spend a week in Mexico, but if I head north instead of south, I’ll end up in the Artic not Mexico.


So here’s The Principle of the Path:

Your direction, not your intention, determines your destination.

As obvious as that is in the world of geography, when it comes to the rest of our lives, whether it be our family life, our financial life, our marriage or dating life, the way we raise our kids, our physical fitness, or our professional life, this same

principle applies. In every area of life, my direction, not my intention, determines my destination.


Yet how many times have you been in a conversation with someone who is describing their life problems, or their marriage difficulties, or their failures, their financial, relational problems and you can see their good intentions but their direction doesn’t line up with their desired (intention) destination. All of life is involved in this ‘direction – destination’ principle. For university bound students, for choosing a mate, for choosing friends, for work or play –what is your direction. Well, your destination lies ahead. Is that where you want to end up?


For students: if you want good grades but don’t study, what happens? Bad grades

Your direction, the path you are following, not your intentions, determines your destination.


Let me show you this from what Solomon showed his audience 3,000 years ago. In Proverbs 7:6, Solomon is about to tell us a story. We don’t know whether it’s a true story or one he made up to demonstrate this principle. As he tells the story,

He is standing at a window, looking down at the street.:


Proverbs 7 (NIV)

6 At the window of my house
    I looked down through the lattice.
7 I saw among the simple,
    I noticed among the young men,
    a youth who had no sense.
8 He was going down the street near her corner,
    walking along in the direction of her house 
(think direction, think path)

9 at twilight, as the day was fading,
    as the dark of night set in.

A young guy cruising the streets at sunset, heading in the direction of a specific woman’s home. As we will see in a second, he knew who this woman was, and he knew she was married. And, apparently, he knew that her husband was out of town and that she would be prowling around the street corner, looking for…well, just looking.

10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
    dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
11 (She is unruly and defiant,
    her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
    at every corner she lurks.)
13 She took hold of him and kissed him
    and with a brazen face she said:

14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
    and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.
15 So I came out to meet you;
    I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed
    with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
    with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
    let’s enjoy ourselves with love!
19 My husband is not at home;
    he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money
    and will not be home till full moon.”

There was a marked contrast between what this man was expecting to

experience and what Solomon knew was in his future. Why? Because the older, wiser man understood from experience where this path would lead.

The man was preoccupied with what he believed would be an exciting event—a night of passion. A night disconnected from every other event in his life.

But Solomon knew better. This night was not an isolated event disconnected from all the other events in this young man’s life. This night was a step down a path. A path, like all paths, that leads somewhere. This particular path had a predictable destination.


21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
    she seduced him with her smooth talk.
22 All at once he followed her
    like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer stepping into a noose
23     till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
    little knowing it will cost him his life.

The disconnect in Solomon’s scenario is easy to see, at least for us. A young man who wanted his life to be relationally richer chose a path that would ultimately undermine his relationships. A young man who yearned for something good chose a path that led to something not good. There was a disconnect. Solomon saw it from his window. We all have a propensity for choosing paths that lead us where we do not want to go.

. For example:

A single woman says, “I want to meet and one day marry a great Christian guy who’s really got his act together” ...but then she dates whoever asks her out, as long as he’s cute.

A man says, “I want a great financial future” ... and so he runs over other people to get his money.

• A married woman says, “I want to have a great relationship with my husband” ... but she makes the children a priority over him.

• A husband says, “I want my kids to respect me as they grow up”... and then he openly flirts with other women in the neighborhood.

• A young Christian says, “I want to develop a deep and lasting intimacy with God” ... so he gets up every morning and reads his newspaper.

• A working man says, “I want to grow old and invest the latter years of my life in my grandchildren” ... but then he neglects his health.

• A regular guy says, “I want to get thin and lose weight … supersize that.”

      His intention is disconnected from his direction, his path

• A couple says, “We’d like our children to develop a personal relationship with God and choose friends who have done the same” ... but then they skip church every weekend and head to the beach, or sleep in and watch football.

• Newlyweds determine to be financially secure by the time they reach their parents’ age ... then adopt a lifestyle sustained by debt and leveraged assets.

• A high school freshman intends to graduate with a GPA that will afford him options as he selects a college ... but neglects his studies.


But like the naïve young man in Solomon’s story, the paths people choose eventually bring them to a destination that is entirely different from the one they intended.


If your goal is to drop two dress sizes, you don’t eat lunch at a donut shop. If you

desire to remain faithful to your spouse, you don’t linger in an online chat room with members of the opposite sex. Those aren’t pastimes.

Those are pathways. They lead somewhere.

As I’ve already said, it is much easier to see these dynamics at work in other people than it is in ourselves.

Take a minute to think about your life and let me ask you this:

• Are there disconnects in your life?

• Are there discrepancies between what you desire in your heart and what you are doing with your life, the path you are on?

• Is there alignment between your intentions and your direction?


If you’ve ever gotten lost while driving (and who hasn’t?), you know that if you backtrack far enough, you can usually get your bearings and be on your way. Worst case, you’ve wasted a few minutes or hours. But when you get lost in life, you

can not backtrack, it’s done, it is lost. When you get lost in life, you don’t waste minutes or hours. You can waste an entire season of your life.


The principle of the path is operating in your life every minute of every day. You are currently on a financial path of some kind. You are on a relational path. You are continuing down a moral path, an ethical path, an entertainment path, a spiritual path. And each of these paths has a destination.


Your direction, not your intentions, determines your destination.

What direction are you headed today?

Get wisdom says Solomom.