Which of the following is a preferable path? Is it better to be healthy all the time, or is there a greater benefit (at least after the fact) in getting sick and then appreciating health much more afterward, having experienced illness?
Similarly, if it is always sunny, can one appreciate and enjoy the beautiful weather like someone who has just experienced a hurricane?
The Bible tells us that there are two distinct paths on life’s journey. Although everyone shares both, one method is more prominent for some people: the path of the righteous or the path of the repentant. Because no one is perfect, even the righteous will experience repentance.
A righteous person is someone who, for the most part, does the right thing. He senses Godliness in his life and constantly desires to stay attached to God through the performance of His commandments. His general direction is always motivated by looking forward and progressing upward. It is this attraction to goodness that motivates him all the time.
There is another path. A person will always run away from death with more vigor and energy than he will run toward things that are positive in life. No one wants pain, and people are influenced more by what they fear than what they wish for… happiness and pleasure.
The peril of what is terrible and dangerous has more influence on most people than the benefits of what is good. The repulsion from bad is always more potent than the attraction to good. That is why salespeople are more successful at scaring you with what could happen if you do not get their product than convincing you of its merit.
So here is the answer to the above question. There is great virtue in a person who is always righteous because his sights are always set on Godliness and goodness. He will reach much further, for he has set his goals higher than simply striving to avoid pain. However, the one who feels a deep thirst for water because his throat is parched has a much deeper and greater intensity and passion in his desire than someone who merely wants to enjoy the water.
A person who realizes how much God is needed every moment in their everyday life will appreciate the need to avoid and escape many of his current habits and routines. His desire for good is intensified, if for no other reason than to run away from the pitfalls of the past. Running away from the bad because it is terrible and setting our sights on the pleasant and beautiful must be balanced. Both have a remarkable quality to them.
The prophets tell us, “God desires the heart.” When a person resolves to turn away from the past, he has already made his 180-degree turn, and his sights are already set on the light before him. “God judges a person at this moment,” and once a person has made the turn, he is heading in the right direction, hopefully with the energy of both past mistakes and future aspirations.
Chapter 69 www.aspiritualsoulbook.com