“At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly [or the church]” Proverbs 5:11–14 NIV.
Those are the words of somebody who has known the way of righteousness for many years, somebody that is seen regularly in church. Somebody who knows how to say “Amen” when the preacher says the right thing. Somebody who knows many of the hymns by heart. Somebody, maybe, who prays in public meetings. And yet, that person has never given heart obedience to the truths that he has learned.
And here he is pictured at the end of his life, realizing too late that he has missed it all – that he knew it with his head, but he never believed and obeyed it with his heart. It is remarkable that when Jesus speaks about hypocrites, He uses particular language. He says, “The end of the hypocrites will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” I have asked myself why particularly that language about hypocrites, and I believe the answer is: because they are people who have known it all, all along, but never obeyed it. And there is a particular bitterness in finding yourself rejected and in the midst of ruin at the end of your life when all those years you have sat in church and known the right thing, given outward assent, but your heart has never been changed. You have never come to the place of true surrender, commitment and making Jesus truly Lord of your life.
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Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.