Friday, June 24, 2011
“He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23)
The above passage is a familiar one, but as I approached it one day, I thought about what it means to be led by God through “paths” of righteousness (what is right, just or normal according to God‘s standards).
This entire Psalm reflects a God who is seen as a Shepherd loving and dependable towards his people. So, when I noticed there were “paths of righteousness,” I wasn’t surprised that God has carved out paths for his people to follow in. Even David knew of God’s paths of righteousness. He said “my steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped” (Psalm 17).
As children, we can probably all remember our parents telling us to stay on a certain path to get where we wanted to go. There’s always danger lurking and a good parent will forewarn their children. The other day, I was walking in a strange neighborhood and nearing the end of my “path”, I encountered a very big dog who came out of nowhere. I screamed and tried to outrun the dog which didn’t work very well. Suddenly, the owner captured his pet and I struggled to find my peace again. Had I known more about this path, I may have avoided this situation.
God, who is the perfect parent, knows what is planned by the enemy and will keep us shielded from the devil’s schemes IF we will keep God always before us. Proverbs 3:5&6 is one of my favorite passages, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” A straight path is a righteous, (right) path.
All of this to say…. There is a path worth traveling and it’s the path of righteousness. If Jesus is your Shepherd, he will gladly lead you in order that you may avoid the pitfalls that are lurking around every corner. Lastly, it is for his glory that we arrive at our destination where we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalm 23:6).
Friday, June 17, 2011
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking. But of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…” (Rom.14:17).
The Apostle Paul wrote the above passage to the Christians in Rome and the believers everywhere. Paul wanted the believers to love one another whether or not they all served Christ the same way. Some believers may eat meat, others vegetables, some consider one day more sacred while another considers every day alike. Paul said it’s really not beneficial to argue about such things because after all, who are we doing all this for anyway?
Further, Paul said it’s not good to offend your brother by doing something you may have perfect peace in doing because if you do, you are no longer acting in love towards him (Rom.14:15). Further saying in verse 21 that it is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. Just because you feel blameless before God is not a good reason to continue to do something that would cause another believer to stumble.
God is most interested in our walk before Him because to Him we will give an account of our lives (Rom.14:12). God does not want his children to be consumed with external things; in this case, food and drink. Be consumed with loving God with all your heart and with all your soul (mind, will and emotions) and with all your strength, Deuteronomy 6:5. According to Matthew's gospel, 22:38, “This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself' (Matthew 22:38).
When man is reconciled to God - a wonderful benefit of peace toward Him and your fellow man is a result. In addition, joy is imparted to us by the Holy Spirit which is like icing on your cake! Loving God and being righteous (right with God) will bring about a life worth living, noticed by all, especially God.