He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. (Proverbs 10:17)
Our successes and failures are the results of the condition of the heart. Faith and doubt occur in the same manner. Many focus on actions, but actions can be deceiving. Jesus pointed out that even though the Pharisees diligently kept the law, they were missing the greatest part (Matthew 23:23). Their problem was not their actions so much as it was there heart. We can fall into this same trap and if true change is going to place in our lives, there must first be a change in the heart.
This passage declares the destination of two groups of people: those experiencing life as intended by The Lord and those in error. Both can be saved people as well as kind, likable, helping, caring and lovable. Their disposition will not determine what they experience in life, but instead their heart’s attitude towards correction.
The secret to experiencing the best that God has to offer you is to respond positively to his correction. The term instruction in this passage also means chastisement and is reflected again in the latter portion of the verse as reproof. The way to life is gained by guarding closely what God says to you as he provides corrective instruction. This instruction may come through preaching, personal bible study or an admonition from a peer. Subsequently the direct way to a life of error is to refuse reproof. Each of these responses take place in the heart of the believer. The former reflects a “fear The Lord” attitude while the other has an attitude of pride.
Your path of life may be set by The Lord, but it will be gained or determined by your heart and in particular how you respond to correction.