How do we walk with God, an individual we cannot see and who doesn’t speak to us with a physical voice? And how do we do it with a roadmap as confusing at the Bible can often be? We must open ourselves up and let go of our selfish desires. We must be willing to admit that we usually don’t know the right thing to do. We need to let the Holy Spirit do that hard work for us.
I should note that my gut feeling was that Miz Pink would cover today’s topic by going with the “path to destruction is wide” angle (and I was right), so I decided to go a completely different route, and pick one of my favorite passages in the Bible, and one that probably most of y’all have never heard of. But it’s one of the few in my King James Bible that I have memorized word for word.
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 10, Verse 23)
To me, this statement encapsulates the very core of how we are supposed to view our walk with God. It not only evokes the walking imagery but hits home that point about how we must let God guide us because, frankly, we don’t know crap most of the time.
So what does that mean for our free will?
It doesn’t hurt it one bit. For one thing, if we are walking with God, we should freely choose to follow the path he wants for us. That’s not slavery; that’s good judgment. Moreover, choosing the path God wants for us doesn’t mean all our choices are made for us. It simply means we put ourselves on the right road. Whether we run down it or walk or skip is often up to us. Whether we stop to smell some roses or head to the end of the road as fast as feasible is typically up to us. We just need to be open to the Holy Spirit and let it guide us.
This is something Mrs. Blue and I have found out the hard way on numerous occasions when we haven’t done what our spirits have nudged us to do. The most recent really painful life lesson in this regard was several years ago when my wife was considering grad schools and the Holy Spirit was prodding her in certain directions that were oriented toward helping people directly. Well, we panicked about how long it might take for such degrees to become something that would pay off financially, and money was heavy on our minds. And jointly, we decided that she should go for something a bit more “business minded.” It was a huge mistake, and God left us to deal with the fallout of that bad decision. Now, He’s been sending some blessings that are making the decision less unbearable, but we are still frequently reminded that we purposefully rejected His guidance based on our fears and preconceptions and impatience. Now as Mrs. Blue feels some new proddings toward another degree, we are not so quick to want to ignore God again. We’ll see if we can keep the faith and stay on the walking path God is setting up for us, though.
Also, taking God’s path and asking him to show us what path He wants us to take isn’t always a dramatic thing involving a grad school or other major life choice. We need to listen to God and invite his navigational skills in smaller things as well. For example, generally when I crack open my Bible just for general edification, I recite that passage from Jeremiah above and then I open my Bible with my eyes closed. I’d say that roughly a third of the time, I find on one of the two pages before me a passage that directly relates to some critical issue with which I am wrestling that day. Another third of the time, it’s something that indirectly relates to the issue at hand or that opens my eyes to something I’ve been neglecting lately. The rest of the time, it’s just a useful passage to give me some new learning.
Point is, given how often I end up with truly relevant passages, from a book that is pretty freakin’ big and has an awful lot of subject matter that it covers, says a lot to me about how important it is not only to remember Jeremiah’s words but to speak them to God with a truly open heart. It never hurts to have a guide when we walk into unfamiliar territory, which is mostly what life is. And what better guide than an omniscient one?
(By the way, as long as we’re on the topic of walking with God, check out my “sequel” to the classic [or, some would say, trite] story “Footprints in the Sand,” a little story I call “A New Record in the Sand.”