There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
In C.J. Mahaney's recent work "Humility" he likens his personal perception and his understanding of how he operates under the power of Christ to be as accurate as that of a Circus mirror. His point being that, he has an incredibly distorted and limited perspective on his spiritual life and the fruit that it produces. There exists within the fabric of his personality, demeanor, and temperament certain components that he has grown blind to over the years and no longer (if they ever did) strike him as so detrimental to his life, his ministry, and his faith. Thus ushers in his effectual understanding that he desperately needs men around him who will help, labor, and toil with him to root out these deeply ingrained habits, which are producing certain symptoms that reflect his flesh, not his master.
But "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" (Romans 11:33), that in his infinite and indescribable wisdom God foreordained the circuitry within us to operate in such a manner that through the assistance of our brothers and sisters we are able to more aptly approach the throne of God. We see this referenced specifically all throughout scripture as well as frequently alluded to through the indications that the "analogy of scripture" as a whole presents to us.
But before getting into the scriptural indicators perhaps I should preface all of this we the clear indictment scripture provides, that we are by our very nature in opposition to the law of the Lord (Eph. 2). The way of the cross is folly to us (1 cor. 1) and is by no means something that comes naturally. All throughout the proverbs we see clearly that "All the ways of man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs his spirit"(Proverbs 16:25)(16:2), and that there is a way that seems right to him that inevitably leads to his death. Thus immediately we must acknowledge that we have a deep propensity imbedded inside our hearts that would incapacitate us from in humility pursuing or inviting the examination of our lives from our brothers or sisters, such an idea even seems wrong, or just not their place, or if nothing else just simply unnecessary. We are a complex race that is content watching our house burn down because we are afraid to confess to our neighbor that the magnificent marble well in our front yard has run dry, while at the same time our neighbor forgoes lending us the water from his well in order to avoid the insult that such an extension (in hopes preserving our life) would present. It is a dangerous and deathly game that we are found in, one that is deeply woven into the tapestry of our nationally American Self-reliance. The American dream is built upon it. But the echo Jesus in his sermon of the mount to his followers is clear: "Not so with you"
"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Gal. 6:1-3.) Paul plainly spoke out against the idea of allowing things to "work themselves out", after displaying that in love holding one another accountable fulfills the law of Christ. He even speaks to the fact that the person who thinks he doesn't need the help of his brother "deceives himself". Christ gave the same teaching in Matthew chapter 18 when he gave instruction for how to approach a brother in sin, the scriptures constantly call us to "Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." (James 5:16, Psalm 32). Here James tells us to pray and confess in hopes that the sickness of our depraved nature would move towards healing not further down a path of destruction. The scriptures tell us to "exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb 3:13). Here the author of Hebrews commands us that it is our duty not our right to "exhort" (gk. literally παρακαλεῖτε: def. to intreat, to summon, desire, to call, to instruct) and so help our brothers and sisters escape the hardening process of sin. To not do so is a sin of omission and defies the law of Christ and Love.
We are called to not be slaves to anything (1 cor 6), and one way we pursue holiness is through community and accountability. Paul told us that “through speaking the truth in love, we grow up in every way into him” (Eph 4:15), we are to let our love be genuine, continue with affectionate brotherhood (Rom. 12:9).Solomon stated it plainly thousands of years ago when he said: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”, the first thing that God declared “not good” was man being alone (Gen 2:18). The scriptures have always infallibly taught that man needs and is wired for relationship, friendship, community, love, and accountability.
Sin desires to have its way with us (Gen 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8), its seeks to kill and destroy and among its most effective tools is that of isolation and pride. May we learn the way of the Cross and by his grace wage war against the flesh through the power of Christ and his gift of fellow workers in his kingdom.