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A shorter article on the same topic can be found in The Baptist Standard article titled, “Voices: Choose to follow God’s path of life.”
Do you feel that you are on the right path of life, following the Lord as closely as you know how? Or are you slowly slipping down the wrong path?
God has a path for believers in Jesus Christ. The Bible calls it the Path of Life.
As a child, I used to grab 10 to 15 Little Golden Books at a time and read one after another. But one which always attracted me, and still draws me to this day, is Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton.
Amazon’s book description mentions that Scuffy was an adventurous little tugboat who believed he was meant for bigger things. He leaves his home, the man with the polka-dot tie, and the little boy who cared for him and sets off to explore the world. After his daring and treacherous adventure down a brook and then a raging river, Scuffy realizes that home is where he’d rather be.
After traveling through dangerous situations, his life became more complicated. Eventually, Scuffy arrives home to the man with the polka-dot tie and his little boy, and he proclaims, “This is the life for me.”
Our goal should be to reach the point where we say, “This is the life for me,” right where we are on the path God has provided us. Scuffy used the quoted phrase twice: once in leaving the reasonable, sensible path of his prior life to seek adventure, and again when he realized he had already been right where he needed to be all along—at home, safe in the arms of the man and boy who love him.
God wants us to understand that we can know our path. And hopefully, it is the one He has set apart for us, but we must choose it.
In Psalm 16, King David declares that he wants refuge in the Lord. In his communion with the Lord, he writes:
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Ps. 16:11 ESV).
What path does God want us to be on for Him?
The late British Old Testament scholar Derek Kidner defined a person on the right path of life as “someone who takes refuge in God and knows life and joy.” This person finds satisfaction in God’s ways and does not pursue other gods. God’s protection and instruction bless him.
As believers, we have two major choices to make in life:
- We must decide whether to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and then
2. We must follow God’s path, which leads us to joy in His presence.
We know we have eternal life, but sometimes we experience struggles. Jesus is the light of the world, but He always uses our struggles and sufferings for His good. There is a purpose for all He does. Suffering causes us to depend on Him in ways we never have done before. David trusted that the Lord would show him the righteous path of life.
Some call the path of life a journey or route. David knew that he would find total joy by following God’s directions. His suffering led him to heed God’s instruction.
God’s Instructions for Us
- Stay in communication with our heavenly Father,
- Read His word daily and let His principles and examples saturate our minds,
- Be obedient to what you read in the Bible,
- Confess sins and ask the Lord to help you in both your thoughts and actions so that those sins will not have a stronghold in your life,
- Decide not to visit places that lead you into temptation,
- Believe the Lord will guide us to Biblical principles and Scripture so we can know the right things to do, and
- Seek His kingdom above all others.
Following the instructions above is easier said than done. I have been there, working through each and every instruction listed above. I also know it takes longer to heed God’s instructions than He or I would like sometimes. However, God has always been available to hear my concerns, thoughts, struggles, and desires. I have also learned it is best to converse with God about our plans before depending on or requesting guidance from others. It is in Him we must confide our deepest longings.
He is on the path of life who heeds instruction,
But he who ignores reproof goes astray (Prov. 10:17 NASB95).
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (2 Tim. 3:16).
Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41).
If you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach (Deut. 30:10-11 NIV).
Righteousness and Unrighteousness
We will encounter testing and temptation on our path, but when we saturate our lives with God’s word and principles, we can be satisfied that we are following the right track. Even as believers, though, we must continually choose between righteousness and unrighteousness.
We want to walk in victory, but sometimes, we desire things God has proclaimed unsuitable for us. We have that struggle between our flesh and the spirit, so we must ponder the path our feet are on.
We cannot experience God’s true purpose for life when we travel the destructive path. We may find ourselves in a continuous cycle of sinning and confessing. To break that cycle, we must deny ourselves, take up Jesus’ cross, and follow Him.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me (Luke 9:23).
The hope of the righteous is gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked perishes (Prov.10:28).
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Results of Living Right—Joy and Heaven
Psalm 16:11 concludes by saying if we follow God’s path, we will have complete joy and pleasures forever.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps.16:11 ESV).
When the temple restoration began in Jerusalem during the time of the prophet Ezra, we can understand the joy and what kind of joy God has in store for us. The builders had laid the foundation of the temple.
They sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid! Ezra 3:11 AMP).
When we lay a Godly foundation in our lives, we can experience joy in the presence of the LORD. God cares about the path of life we choose. And when we strive to be on his team, we can live joyfully in his presence. We can also experience everlasting pleasures in this life and the next as we lift our eyes to Jesus.
It is a beautiful gift from the Lord that we can experience pleasures forever when our lives are over here. Living with our Lord and Savior in heaven is a deep gratification and satisfaction we can look forward to.
In this earthly life, we fail often, but God is always willing to pick us up and reroute and redirect our path.
Reroute and Redirect
What is the purpose of a navigation system? A navigation system is an instrument that determines the position of a vehicle and the route to a particular place. The car’s navigation system tells the driver to turn left or right at a specific junction. The navigation system uses GPS signals to determine the vehicle’s location and direction.
It is a valuable tool with many benefits, such as helping people reach their destination, tracking packages, locating vehicles, and more. It guides the cars by directing the drivers through congested areas.
It is similar to the way God directs us in our lives.
- He shows us which way to turn—to the right or the left.
- He signals us on which way to proceed or not proceed.
- He helps us to reach the destination and call of our lives, and
- God guides us continually through the rough times in our lives.
However, our navigation system must take its orders from the Lord. He will reroute and redirect our thoughts or actions if we genuinely want to follow His path.
I love the story about how God rerouted one young boy. In sharing with another, one older man said:
It’s true. I have had some terrible disappointments in my day, but none stands out like the one that came to me as a boy.
And what was that?
That was the night I crawled under a tent to see a circus—and found myself at a revival meeting!
God continually tries to woo us back to him. Relief may be found in a Bible verse that comes alive to us. It may be a friend directing us back to a godly life. It may come about after agonizing prayers to remove wishes or desires that are not beneficial to our spiritual health. But, no matter how God chooses to get our attention, it is up to us to choose His path.
We need to listen and obey Him. Live in His righteousness. Get on the path he has prepared for us. And if surrendering areas of our lives to His will seems complicated, remember to talk to the Lord about everything. We can ask for His help and protection to rid ourselves of untimely thoughts or actions.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6 NASB95).
A person’s mind plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps (Prov. 16:9).
This is the Life for Me!
After Scuffy’s journey away from his home, he says, “I wish I could find the man with the polka dot tie and little boy.” And soon, the man with the polka-dot tie reached out, picked him up, and brought him safely home. Scuffy learned that the grass wasn’t greener on the other side of the fence.
Scuffy’s path in life allowed him to experience adventures he initially enjoyed but became dangerous. He enjoyed some of life’s simple pleasures, but as he kept traveling along the river, he was jammed with logs and became scared of the river moving faster and faster. Then, the flood waters came until the little tugboat desired the warmth and safety of home.
And just like the man with the polka-dot tie who scooped Scuffy out of the water after his journey away and brought him home, God does the same for us when we choose to live for Him, decide against following unrighteous living, and allow him to reroute us when we stumble or get ahead of His will.
Let us live victoriously in his presence, along the paths He has prepared for us, because “this is the life for us!”
God bless you.
Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that I can be confident that You have a plan for my life. Thank you that I can trust that You will show me that plan in Your timing and in a way that honors You. Please give me the wisdom to acknowledge and follow Your plan quickly, without hesitation, so You can use me for Your glory before I meet You face-to-face. Why? Because Your way is the only life for me. Amen.
Bible Verses are located within this article.
Bible verses come from the New American Standard Bible 95, The English Standard Version, The New International Version, and The Amplified Bible.
Barry, John D., et al., Faithful Study Bible, Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.
Chinemerem, Barabas Iwuala. “How to Stop Navigation Using Google Assistant, Feb. 3, 2023. https://techqlik.com/how-stop-navigation-using-google-assistant.
Crampton, Gertrude. Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures Down the River. New York: A Golden Book, 1946, 1983.
The Speaker’s Desk Book, ed. Lawrence Hembree and the staff of Quote. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1967.
All photos: Canva.com
Edited by E. Johnson
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