He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
To me, this verse is about being a disciple. A disciple is one who follows. Not a believer, not a tribe-member, not a fan or supporter. A follower.
Not for my sake. Not for our sake. For who’s sake? For HIS name’s sake. “Hallowed be THY name.”
We can pray with the psalmist in Psalm 119:133
“Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.” But why? So that we’re good enough to get into Heaven?
Nah. As sheep go, I’m a black sheep. Chief among sinners. Sure I want God to lead me in His paths, His rules and His ways so that I please Him- but I can’t EVER please Him enough to save myself. Jesus already died for my sins on the cross.
No, I want Him to lead me in paths of righteousness, for HIS glory, for the sake of His good name and reputation- partly in response and gratitude for His grace and forgiveness, but also so that He can use me to attract others to Himself.
But guess what? This won’t always be easy. Notice that this verse comes after the nice green pastures and still waters but just before the valley of the shadow of death.
Too often we think of God as a sweet old Grandpa or maybe as Santa Claus. But if we’re disciples and He’s the rabbi, our teacher, maybe we ought to think of Him as a coach or even a drill instructor. Coaches and Sergeants can be tough. They make you run. They take you on hikes. They challenge you and push you to your limits. But why?
The best coaches make us do things we don’t want to do so that we’ll be able to do things we need to do. What did Jesus do? He laid down his life for us. He was unselfish, humble, altruistic, He was willing to make sacrifices. He ate with sinners, associated with tax collectors and prostitutes, embraced lepers, fed the hungry, healed the sick.
What did He tell us his followers to do? Check out Matthew 5- Love, forgive, show mercy, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, give people the coat off our backs, love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Are we content to just sit in a pew or wear a t-shirt? Or are we actually willing to leave the plow in the field, not look back and follow Him. Wherever He goes. Even out of our comfort zone.
Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
1 Peter 2:21
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Be a lamp unto my path and a light unto my feet.
Draw me into your wake. Let me get caught up in your momentum.
Give me Your Holy Spirit and guide me and lead me through the experiences which will help me grow and into the encounters and relationships where You can use me to share Your love, Your joy, Your peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness.
I don’t want to just claim that I believe in You or agree with You- I want to truly be where You are, even if it means having to trust You to lead me where You would have me go.
In Jesus’ name,