“Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” — Proverbs 4:26-27
Rowing is one of the most interesting sports to watch, in my opinion. There are so many wonderful metaphors for life exemplified there — whether it be moving in sync with the Holy Spirit’s rhythm, listening to God’s guidance, knowing how to pace yourself for the long haul, or selecting the right teammates to do life with. But perhaps above all, the most important lesson is one I heard recently.
During the rowing competitions at the Tokyo Olympics, one of the commentators talked about how “any deviation from straight can slow you down.” How you’ll lose ground in the race the minute you start to veer off course. And, sure enough, you could see just that with a team or two.
The same can be said for our spiritual walk with God. The Bible says, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14, ESV). If you’re going to live a life that’s consistent with the ways of God, “any deviation from straight can slow you down.” The lane has been set and the course laid out for you. God has promised to give you what you need to run it, but it’s up to you to avoid anything along the way that can distract you or deter you from maintaining your momentum in the Christian life.
We all know how easy it is to let things creep into our lives that, over time, prove detrimental to our walks with God. It’s those little compromises along the way that begin to add up and cause you to drift from where you ought to be. And, if you aren’t willing to make a course correction quickly enough, you will lose ground and get passed by.
It’s important to pay attention to the tiny sins or compromises that, in the moment, may seem harmless, but in the end prove deadly to your spiritual life. Author and theologian John Owen once wisely noted, “He who does not kill sin along the way is making no progress in his journey.” This application will likely prove different for each person, but the point remains that unless you ask God regularly to show you those places where you need to adjust, you will not finish your race to the glory of God.
The prayer of David in Psalm 139:23-24 should be one that we ask of God continually: “Search me, God, and know my heart … See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Don’t let yourself get pulled off course by things that are of little importance in the long run. Stay on track and finish well!
— Katherine Singer
If you would like to submit a reader devotional, please email all submissions to