Summary: Don't forget who you are: a child of the King!
He who walks with integrity walks securely,
But he who perverts his ways will become known.
The unstated premise of this verse is that personal security is great blessing. It is a blessing to be able face the world directly, hold your head up high, and not be burdened by the worry of regularly, both really and metaphorically, having to look over one's shoulder.
1. One of the deepest desires of the human heart is to be secure. We develop elaborate rituals and contracts to secure our most intimate relationships. We spend large sums of money insuring our vehicles, homes, businesses, and bodies against the possibility of damage. Sociologically, we are practically obsessed with the idea that we can purchase security...
-Do a Google search on the number of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
-Look at a few estimates of the amount of money that we spend annually on our military.
-Do a little research into how much we, as a people, spend on healthcare.
...Individually we go to great lengths to fend off even the appearance of old age and death: coloring our hair, moisturizing our wrinkles, and even (for the more wealthy among us) "surgically enhancing" our failing bodies.
...And when we cannot avoid reality we do our best to sanitize it's more unsettling impositions by moving them behind the white sheets, shut curtains, and closed doors of expensive institutions with reassuring and deceptive names...is a nursing home anything like a real home? ...How much repentence and correction actually goes on in our penitentiaries and correctional facilities?
2. We live in a world that is deeply insecure. For all of our time and money and efforts we get very little return on our investment. The world remains an incredibly unstable place with "wars and rumors of war," ubiquitous (I just love that word!) crime, failing families, and crumbling interpersonal relationships as headline staples. External security is a pretty lie that we tell ourselves and sell to one another in one big orgy of denial that, nevertheless, always ends the same...a literal or metaphorical pine box. We can make our corpses look younger, fitter, and more attractive, but cannot deny their fundamental declaration: we are vulnerable; "things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
Insecurity is, largely, a result of our perverted paths. "Perversion" is not merely the moral hot potatoes tossed back and forth in our perpetual wars of culture. The person on a "crooked" or "perverted" path is one who chooses to do things that are fundamentally opposed to their God-ordained nature.
...at this point I recommend a quick overview of the Fall and its "fallout."
The choices we make that are inconsistent with who we really are:
(1) Make us internally insecure; we forget that we are the children of God, designed and predestined for glory...reference Adam and Eve seeing themselves as naked and ashamed.
(2) Make us interpersonally insecure...reference Adam and Eve "hiding" from one another with fig leaves. Discuss the conflict that is basic to the attempt to protect one's real and/or percieved weaknesses, often accompanied by the attempt to compensate by exploiting the weaknesses of others, and the lack of trust/love that perpetuates the cycle.
(3) Keep us from exercising the power of God's grace. Instead of embracing God's mercy and resolving to learn from our failures, we "hide" and shut ourselves off from the spiritual influences that would redeem us.
3. We have a choice! We always have the ability to choose to become who we really are! We can can choose to ask, recieve, and attempt to exercise our Heavenly Father's grace and blessing. We cannot always choose our circumstances, but we can choose to remember who we are in the midst of our circumstances. We cannot choose the attitudes and behaviors of others, but we do have some ability to choose our own attitude and behavior. ...This is not a call for moral perfection. It is a challenge to consistently identify with our best notions about who we are. Refer to the Apostle Paul's revelation in chapter seven of the book of Romans that he often fails to do the "good" that he wants to do while giving into the "bad" that he does not want to do. Paul makes the courageous/outrageous claim that it really isn't him who is doing or not doing these things...the "real" Paul is the Paul who consistently identifies with Christ; the Paul who chooses to identify and become the person God created him to be.
-Real security, the only security we have any real access to, comes from knowing that we are truly and deeply loved. The only real security we have comes from knowing/believing that "no matter what" everything is going to (eventually/one way or another) be okay. This knowledge/belief gives us the courage to try to be and do better. It relieves us from the worry of failure, and challenges us to become who we really are and/or want to be.