Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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3 Rest on the Right path Part 1

Psalm 23:3 “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

When it comes to which path we will pursue many of us become preoccupied with our own preference. If we are going to follow the Redeemer we have to resist the urge to choose our own course.  From the time we are little we fight instruction, saying “I” can do it, yet “I” is independent of the Shepherd.  We need a shepherd because we are sheep that quickly choose the wrong path and get lost. One of the shepherd’s main tasks is leadership, yet we fear following because we misunderstand His leadership. What type of leader was Jesus? He was a loving leader not a lording leader. He wasn’t a dictator, He let Judas betray, and Peter deny, but He also wasn’t a democratic leader, He never took a vote. Today we rightly view dictatorship as demeaning, yet we champion democratic leadership because we believe it leads to freedom, but freedom is only found in following Jesus.  We fear following the shepherd because we are afraid of losing our freedom so we choose the path of self which leads to slavery and sin!  Sheep have no sense of direction, Isaiah 53:6 says: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.” Sheep don’t know where to go but the shepherd does, John 10:4 “he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” I need the shepherd to lead because only He knows where to go, direction, how to get there, which path to take, why we are even going, the purpose, and when to go, the timing. Many Christians today are living directionless lives with no sense of purpose or timing because they refuse to surrender to the Shepherd’s leadership. When we refuse to surrender to the Lord’s leading we become lost, not unsaved but very unsure. Jesus doesn’t drive us from behind He leads from the front. He is not focused on how fast or how far we walk He just calls us to follow the right path. It’s not about the distance we cover but the destination. When the psalmist talks about the right paths He is also reminding us that there are wrong paths. When we choose to ignore God’s Word and disobeys His commands we depart from the right path. When we follow our feelings and friends instead of the Father we fall prey to pursuing the wrong path. We have a shepherd who leads us slowly just as a yew would lead her lambs so they could keep up. Our shepherd also leads us on the straightway so we are not lead astray. It’s easy to become distracted by our own desires instead of His path and His plan. We will either follow or falter; when we make it about our preferences instead of His path we become tempted to trade conviction for convenience and His call for our comfort. The Christian life isn’t about comfort or convenience it’s about being Christ centered. How do we find the “right path?” Follow, “Come, follow me,” Jesus said Mark 1:17. But it’s not following from afar, Matthew 11:28 tells us to draw close to the shepherd. “Come to Me”. And John 15:4 tells us to stay there right beside the Shepherd, “Abide in me” Are you following from afar or are you drawing close and remaining with the Redeemer? Why should we want to choose the “right paths”, because they are God’s best for us, so often we settle for second best. We can whine and complain about our situation but we are the ones who have settled. The Psalmist reminds us that He guides us for His name’s sake, the name of God represents the reputation of God, you can depend on the Shepherd to do what He says. We as people have a habit of putting our name on our work, Ford, Baldwin, God puts His name on us, we are His work. You can trust His paths because you can truths His promises. We can be sure and secure because we have a strong Shepherd whose word is true. How dependable are the promises of Psalm 23, as dependable as God Himself, I Thessalonians 5:24 says: “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” When we focus on the temporary it’s tempting to trade God’s truth, but His Word is eternal. Today what path are you on? Is it the right path or the wrong? Do you need to stop and surrender you preferences for His path? Today let me invite you to pray psalm 23 with me again:

Lord because you are my Shepherd, I commit my needs to you. Provide green pasture for me to lie in and still waters to sooth my soul. Restore and refresh as You love me by leading me in right paths for Your name’s sake. Deliver me from danger as I walk through wickedness. Protect me with Your power and prepare a table to feed me so my enemies can see Your provision. Anoint me with the oil of Your healing as I drink from Your full cup of peace, secure in the knowledge that goodness and mercy will always follow me and I will live with You forever. Amen