17 The highway of the upright avoids evil;
those who guard their ways preserve their lives.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
than to share plunder with the proud.
The upright avoid short term distractions on their way to long term goals. Often in life, what we think is a pit stop turns out to be a major detour. Have you ever dabbled in something you should have avoided, only for it to turn into a harmful habit? There is often more at stake than we think. Identify your temptations, and commit to guarding against them. If you struggle with something, don’t see how close you can get without running into the ditch.
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” The proud person thinks “I can handle the risk!” But each time he succeeds he is one step closer to failure, as his arrogance fuels more recklessness. Temptation exaggerates rewards and discounts risks, do not be fooled by its lies. We all know the guilt of sinful indulgence and the regret of the consequences it brings, remember this the next time you are tempted.
“Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” Life has its ups and downs, seasons of joy and seasons of gloom. It is often when things look the bleakest that they begin to turn around, those who are lowly in spirit can still hold on to hope. But though the proud fancy themselves invulnerable, they are subject to great swings in circumstances and in attitude. They may be in the midst of celebrating a victory when they find themselves caught in their own snares. Regardless of mood, it is behavior which determines the course of one’s life.