If we are not careful, one of the most frustrating things about being a Christian is trying to know what God’s will is for our lives. We know in times past He spoke to Israel with moving clouds, called Samuel by name, made Gideon’s fleece wet, and sent His angles to talk. We may sometimes wish for direction just as clear as that, and not realize that we have something better.
First of all we must understand that the Shepherd does have a plan for His sheep. Continuing with Psalms 23:3, “ …he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” From the green pastures through the dark valleys He has promised never to leave or forsake us. In discussing restoration from the first part of the verse we know that sometimes He leads us though places that are a real test of faith.
A step forward in the will of God is always a step of faith.
Sometimes the problem is not that we do not understand where the Shepherd wants us to go, as much as it is that we do not want to go there. In truth, a step forward in the will of God is always a faith-step. Too many sheep walk haltingly, fearful of what the next step will bring. Our walk for God should be just as confident as our walk down the street. Take each step of faith, understanding that all the other steps in God’s will just bring us closer to Him.
A Righteous Path
Consider the path that the Psalms has laid out before us… There is no need to fear in the will of God. We must trust that His leading will always take us down the correct path. The path He leads us in is a righteous path. We know that there is no righteousness in us, but that does not stop us from walking down the righteous path. We must walk confidently knowing that whatever the path might bring, it is a righteous path we walk. The reason is even greater: we walk, “for his names sake.” Stop and think about this, would you? The Shepherd leads us along a righteous path for HIM. As Christians, we have the opportunity to walk for His name.
Here I am just a dirty little sheep. My Shepherd chose me and bought me with His blood. I no longer have to worry about where I am headed because He leads me. You get that? He leads me personally. The path I take for Him will always be a righteous path. I am a little ambassador for my Shepherd. I walk for His name’s sake. He chose me and He directs my path.
The Nuts and Bolts
When the Shepherd directs you down a righteous path, do not leave the path unless you are sure that the Shepherd is changing your path. What was God’s will, will continue to be God’s will, until He changes it. If the Shepherd wants you to change paths He will make sure that you know just what to do.
The Shepherd will never take you down an unrighteous path. Satan will tempt you to leave a path for greener pastures. He may use various methods to try to get you off the path that the Shepherd wants you on. If he can move you of the righteous path then you will not be as effective for God.
The Shepherd will always move you to be more effective “for his names sake.” If a path seems to take you from service for God, be careful. The Shepherd will train and raise you, and may even move you to be more effective for Him. We however must take our will out of the situation, and move only on His will.
For me, leaving the Pastorate was one of the hardest things I had ever done. I had pastored for the same place for seven years. I learned a lot in those seven years, and I had a blast being a pastor. God moved me before the health issues were too much trouble. They were interfering, but I could function. We moved to another Church in another state where God gave me a secular job and a home within two days. I served God in that Church as a layman until my health made that impossible. From a pastor to a homebound Christian may seem, to some, to be a downward path. The Shepherd has taken twenty-two years of service to Him to put me were I am today. I would not ever have chosen this path for myself. However, I would not trade anything for His leading me down this path for His name’s sake. That is the will of God.
Today may not seem right, but a lifetime of daily steps of faith will show you that your path is right.
So how do you find the right path for yourself? Spend time with the Shepherd. Work hard were you are. Take the steps of faith as they come. The best thing I can give you as encouragement is Psalms 46:10a, “Be still, and know that I am God:” My son recently asked me why he does not hear from God. I told him that he must learn to be still, and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit. By the way, he has heard from God since.