Jehovah says, “Ponder the path of thy feet.” (Pr 4:26) We should be thinking carefully about the course we’ve chosen so far in life, and where our path is leading. Our decisions comprise our path, and our motives determine its course.
There are paths of the righteous (Pr 2:20) and of the wicked (Pr 4:14) … and God is pondering all of them. (Pr 5:21) Every choice we make extends our path in one direction or another, towards God or away, and God is noticing every time; though we can always turn back and retrace our steps, we can never actually erase one.
When we walk in darkness and lies we can’t see what we’re stumbling over (Pr 4:19); it’s an unstable path that’s impossible to understand. (Pr 5:6) “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Pr 4:18) Let’s choose each and every step of life thoughtfully, and well.
Staying on the right path ultimately distills down to just one thing: pleasing God. God give us grace, to know wisdom, to walk in in the light, in Your ways, in strength and power. (Pr 4:11-12) As we seek Him He is faithful to show us the path of life (Ps 16:11), and to walk with us along the way. (1Jn 1:7)
When Christ is called, “Good Master,” He responds, “Why do you call me good? There is none good but one, that is God.” (Mk 10:17-18) This is helpful: God is good, and only God is good.
So, Man is not good; Man is bad; desperately wicked. Man has free will: God gives Man freedom to choose, and in choosing freely Man always chooses badly. (Ge 6:5)
We should not be surprised that people are evil and that God’s angry — it’s a miracle that any at all are good … indeed some are (Lk 1:5-6), a mystery hid in God restraining evil. (Pr 16:1,9)
God can make us good, and only God can make us good. If He can make anyone good, then He can make you and me good, by replicating His nature in us.
Do we want to be good? This is the beginning of goodness, itself the gift of God, working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Php 2:13)
I seem to need a constant reminder that my hope is not in politics, or in religion, or in my family, my friends, my job or my country … or in myself … but in a sovereign God Who always does according to His own purpose and will … which is always good. (Ep 1:11)
Every heart responds to the Creator in one of two basic ways: thankfulness and joyful obedience — or distrust and disobedience. (Ro 1:21)
We all start out in sin, as rebels hating God (Ep 2:3), but God transforms some of us so that we begin loving Him, trusting Him, thanking Him and obeying Him from the heart; He quickens our spirits to love Him, to delight in His Law, and starts writing His laws into our minds and hearts. (He 8:10) We then begin to enjoy obeying Him: a transformed nature, a new creature, is evidence of our redemption. (2Co 5:17)
Jesus said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments;” (Jn 14:15) we love Him by keeping His Laws (1Jn 5:3), Torah, which are good. (Ro 7:12) So Jesus didn’t abolish Torah (Mt 5:17-19); it’s still God’s definition of sin. (1Jn 3:4) Though we aren’t justified by obeying God’s Law, we’re deceived in thinking we’re in a right relationship with God if we’re still willfully disobeying Him. (1Jn 2:4) We can’t worship in truth until we’ve learned His commandments. (Ps 119:7)
As we seek to make our election sure, here’s an easy litmus test: if there are parts of Torah we still don’t like, that we disdain and deliberately refuse to obey, then we’re deceived, carnal, out of step with God (Ro 8:6-7); the stubborn, willfully disobedient soul has yet to be redeemed. (Ro 2:7-9) In other words, What’s the point in pretending to be transformed … if we aren’t acting like it? (1Jn 3:7)
Many of us long to hear the whisper of God’s Spirit guiding us in life’s journey. Wouldn’t life be so much simpler if God would just tell us what to do? Perhaps we need to learn to quiet ourselves, wait on the Lord, and listen to the voice of the Spirit for supernatural guidance.
Yet Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (Jn 10:27) If we belong to God, He says we will hear His voice and follow Him; Christ never says this is something we need to learn. In fact, the idea that God’s children will miss doing His will because they don’t hear His voice seems to me foreign to scripture. (Jn 10:2-5) Perhaps we don’t yet understand the spiritual realm and what it’s like to hear the voice of God.
Following God seems to me simpler than we think. (Mt 11:29-30) As we walk in the light, He wills in our wills, speaks in our thoughts, and works through our acts. (Php 2:13) It isn’t complicated, yet most of us who call Christ Lord aren’t doing what He said (Lk 6:46): hiding His Word in our hearts and seeking to know wisdom as a manner of life. (Ja 1:5) If we aren’t even doing the basics, is it any wonder we’re struggling? If we aren’t careful, seeking supernatural guidance rather than doing what He says, we might open ourselves up for deception and hear the voice of strangers seeking to counterfeit the divine. In my experience, when we are obeying what He’s already told us, that hunger to hear a supernatural voice is fully and completely satisfied.
Joyfully obeying God is perhaps the highest form of worship. (1Sa 15:22b) It’s love acting out, “God, You’re worthy; You’re supremely important; Your desire is my only priority.” Those who love Him need not know why He commands, only that He does; “for this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” (1Jn 5:3)
The greatest example of obedience ever may be Christ praying in the garden, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.“ (Lk 22:42) As He’d planned from eternity past, His will was to ransom those He loved. Yet He could not be self-willed in dying for us: He was willing to give that up and die an eternal failure in the garden, lying on His face in the dirt, if that was His Father’s will. It was the ultimate submission, where He Himself learned obedience and revealed His perfection. He was then fit to author eternal salvation for all who obey Him. (He 5:7-9)
So often God gives commands without telling us why, yet the quickened soul implicitly trusts that God is good. Like Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith, we obey, not always knowing what blessing will come, but that there is blessing in any and all obedience. (He 12:1-2) Yet it is not for blessing we obey, but simply for Him, because He is worthy.