The God-Directed Life.
“The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” – Proverbs 20:24 NLT
Those who say they are following Christ are really allowing God to lead their lives. To say I am following someone sounds like this is my decision and I am the one determining my own way. But when I follow Christ, I am walking the way of God, the path He has chosen for a righteous, godly life. That is the path that Christ took and when I get in line behind Him, that is the way I go. Only He knows the direction, so I must follow closely. If I choose to wander off the path and go my own way, it will not go well for me. The godly life is a God-directed life. It is allowing Him to direct my steps, determine my way, and then empower me as I take each step. Solomon seems to have known this truth, because it permeates the Proverbs. He realizes that the godly person is one who recognizes that God directs his life. But Solomon knows that, as human beings, we struggle with the seeming loss of control. In Proverbs 20 he asks us “the Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” (Proverbs 20:24 NLT). We want to know where we are going and we want to know why we have to go there. Sometimes we find our circumstances difficult and we want God to explain what happened. At times we find ourselves going through a rough patch of life and we demand that God explain how He got us there. But God is not obligated to explain Himself to us. A prerequisite for following anyone is TRUST. Especially if we don’t know where they are taking us. Along the way, we may encounter difficulties, but we have to trust that God knows what is best. But not only do we have to trust God for the direction of our lives, we have to trust him for strength for the journey. All along the way, we will have countless opportunities to stray and take the path of the drunkard, the fighter, the swindler, the sluggard, and the fool. Solomon deals with these individuals repeatedly. They illustrate the life of the person who has decided to follow their own path rather than God’s. We can easily become self-deceived when we live self-directed lives. We can even think we are doing well, but Solomon warns us, “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin?'” (Proverbs 20:9 NLT). This is obviously a rhetorical question and the answer is “no one.” Only God knows our heart and only God can cleanse it. Only God can direct our lives so that we end up living lives of integrity and wholeness. Only God’s way will reveal a life marked by godly behavior. “The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive” (Proverbs 20:27 NLT). As God directs our lives, He will use the activity of the journey to expose what is going on inside of us. He will reveal weaknesses and sinful habits that need to be repented of and removed from our lives. He will change our hearts and alter our behavior, and it is our God-directed behavior that will reveal to others that we are His. “Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right” (Proverbs 20:11 NLT). When we follow God, others will see our walk and know by our behavior and the direction of our lives that we are godly.
Following God requires trust for more than just direction. If somewhere along the path we are attacked and hurt by someone else, our natural tendency will be to strike back and seek revenge. But we are warned, “Don’t say, ‘I will get even for this wrong.’ Wait for the Lord to handle the matter” (Proverbs 20:22 NLT). That requires trust. If things don’t appear to be going well, trust God. If you find yourself feeling lost, trust God. If you begin to feel tired and weak, trust God. The purpose of the journey that God has us on is NOT just to get to the final destination. The journey is really about getting to know ourselves and getting to know Him. The path from Egypt to the Promised Land was designed to help the Israelites learn to trust God and not themselves. It was intended to build dependence and reveal weakness. They would have to learn to follow God even when things looked bleak and the journey seemed pointless and directionless. God knew what He was doing. As important as the destination might have been, the task of getting there was just as vital. We are on a journey too. We are following God. We have a final destination, but our time on this earth is designed to increase our dependence on God and reveal to those around us that we are on a different path, led by a God who loves us, guides us, protects us, and strengthens us all along the way.
Father, I want to learn to trust You more. Forgive me for demanding explanations and for wanting to “backseat drive” along the way. I know You don’t need my help. Give me the peace to take the next step and trust You for strength along the way. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men