Thursday, November 30, 2006

And He Will Make My Path Straight

I have switched my devotional source for now. I was following a recommended devotional path in my Bible, but it seems like the first group was good, while the rest... not so much. Right now I'm using a devotional called Proverbs and Parables, and it ties the two together. Should be interesting reading for a little while, and will help me read more than one chapter a day.

Today I read Luke, chapter 15. This chapter is the home of the very familiar Prodigal Son parable. Today what I want to talk about is The Path... we all are on a path. The path in this instance can stand for all the choices we make in life. Every day we make different choices and I can't imagine what kind of choices I'd be making if I didn't have God and his direction. And there are times where I certainly choose the wrong path, but then God is still there at the end, and he forgives me for steering off course. I think about my late teens/early twenties, when I'd decided that I wanted to do my own thing, and do everything that I knew was not what God wanted me to do. I like to think that God was watching, and patiently waiting, because he knew my frivolity wouldn't last long, and just like the Prodigal Son's father, he was waiting for me to come back, and once I was back, we had a party, and it was like I'd never left. The bad path forgotten.

Proverbs 3:5-8 has this to say today:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

That first verse- Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. How often I need to be reminded of this. I can't lean on my own understanding- meaning to me that I don't know everything, and I can't always control a situation. It's up to God to help us through- as long as we place all our trust and all of our hearts in his care, he will see us through, and make the path we must take clear to us. Instead of a windy path with all kinds of twists and bends, he will make the path straight- it will have a clear path, and we will know without a doubt which way we should go. And then there's verse 7: do not be wise in your own eyes. That is humbling to me. You know that proud feeling you get when you make a good choice, or a good decision, or figure out the right way to go? Do not be wise in your own eyes. If I think that I am wise, then I'm not turning to God in times of need. That feeling needs to be kept in check.

Proverbs 4:10-27 also has to deal with paths, and avoiding the paths of the wicked. To me, the paths of the wicked seem like the easy way to go- it seems like the path with the least resistance, and the most appeal at the time. Look at this verse:

But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.

They do not know what makes them stumble. What seems like a good idea can actually be a stumbling block, and you may not even know it yet. That's kind of scary. I have to think about my very first experience drinking. It seemed like a good idea- even a great idea to eat Jello infused with vodka. It seemed like a great idea to play drinking games and see whether or not I could keep up with the guys... It wasn't until several hours later throwing up that I realized it was all a bad idea. Stumbling blocks can be like that. They can be appealing at the time, and we don't realize that they are going to cause us problems down the road. And often times, those stumbling blocks lead the way to a repeat performance. Once you've travelled down a wrong path a few times, it gets easier and easier to do it again.

Verses 10 and 11 though are very encouraging,

Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.

11 I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.

He guides us! He leads us along straight paths, and the paths of the Lord are not clouded in darkness, full of unknown stumbles. They are straight and true, and as long as we stay on it, the years of our lives will be many! It can be discouraging sometimes to find yourself strayed from the right path. Sometimes, it isn't even intentional, but God is always there for us, he's always there to help us get back on the right path. That's the path HE wants us on. As long as we accept Jesus as our savior, and accept God's standards as our own, we will be rewarded with a winning path- the path straight to Heaven. That's the path I want to be on.

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