Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them (Proverbs 22:5).
On a recent stroll with my wife and our two youngest children, I was pushing the stroller and at one point moved too close to the edge of the sidewalk. Instantly the stroller tire closest to the edge of the sidewalk was punctured by about 20 goathead thorns from a vine that had grown over onto the sidewalk. If you do not have goatheads in the area you live, consider yourself very lucky. It is no surprise that these evil weeds are also known as devil’s thorn.
Proverbs 22:5 warns us to protect our souls by keeping far away from the thorns of the crooked and perverse. Like those dastardly goatheads, it only takes one small slip to have our souls punctured when we cross the line into the evil of this world. Unfortunately, so many professing Christians want to wander up as close to that line as possible. Whether it is spending too much time with a member of the opposite sex who is not your spouse, becoming too intimate outside of marriage, or spending too much time with people who revel in their sin and lies. If we stay far away from these types of things, our soul is less likely to be harmed by a minor lapse in judgment. If we mingle near these sins, all it takes is a momentary lapse for our souls to be punctured by these spiritual thorns. And, if we are choosing to mingle near the crooked and perverse, perhaps we are already sinning in our desires and actions.
Our path through this world is rife with opportunities to be led astray—by our sinful desires, by our sin-filled world, and by the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. So we must guard our souls by keeping as far from them as possible and by keeping our eyes focused on Jesus Christ. And when we fail, we must again turn to him in repentance and faith for there is salvation in no one else.