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He guides me in paths of righteousness for his names sake. Psalm 23:3
There is no “The Lord is…”truth in this verse like there have been in the first two verses of the 23rd Psalm. It ends and begins with a choice. He guides, will I follow?
When we give our lives to Jesus, we begin on a journey. A journey of choices.
Paths of Righteousness
The paths of righteousness weave through our lives in two ways.
First, it’s a life choice: who will we follow, Jesus or society? Who’s wisdom will we depend on, the world’s or God’s? Who’ll be at the center of our focus, pleasing Jesus or pleasing others?
This is an easy choice to make. Of course we’ll follow Jesus, depend on His wisdom, and keep our eyes on Him. After all, He is our Savior.
Then comes real life.
Day-to-day decisions that seem so far removed from our relationship with Him. We only need Jesus’ guidance for the big decisions, right?
- Do I really need to consult Him when I'm deciding whether to go see that movie with my friends?
- How about the anger I carry against my coworker? I have every right to be angry!
- Of course I laid on my horn at that idiot who cut me off the other day. He could’ve killed me!
- Maybe I should’ve asked Him before I snapped at my husband – it really wasn’t his fault.
Why do I need Jesus to guide me on these little things?
We find the answer in the last few words of this verse:
for his name sake.
We use that word sake a lot. “I did it for her sake.”
We’re saying, “I did it to take care of her.”
But we don’t need to take care of God. He’s all-powerful, He can take care of Himself.
It’s that word name that makes all the difference.
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We seek His guidance, even in the small things, to take care of His name.
We wear His name. His Spirit fills us. We represent Him to the world around us.
When we choose to stray from His path of righteousness, we take His name with us.
We reflect Him to the world around us.
Is God defined as loving by the way we treat others?
Do we present Him as faithful or forgiving?
Before you beat yourself up, remember Isreal’s King David.
A man - one who stole another man’s wife, got her pregnant, and then had her husband killed so he could have her - this man is a man after God’s own heart.
Talk about someone who ran off God’s path and smeared mud all over His name!
And yet God called David, “a man after my own heart,” (Acts 13:22).
God is all the things we struggle to be: loving, faithful, and forgiving.
You are His special treasure and His beloved child.
His desire is to teach and transform you, not to reject and punish.
Next time you stumble, turn to Him and He will guide you back to His path of righteousness.
What is your favorite character trait of God?
How is He transforming you?