Wouldn’t it be perfect if God would send down a blueprint for each of our lives? What if, when we were born, we came with an instruction manual that he wrote out for us? A manual that would outline what we should do to follow His plan for our lives?
Sometimes, life can be so confusing and stressful that it can be difficult to understand what God wants for us over the noise of the world and the sounds of all the obligations pulling at us. And the truth is, God knows what He wants for us is in control of our plans. He has the blueprint for our lives drawn up. He is guiding us and putting seeds in our hearts and, like a gardener, He waters the seeds He plants within our hearts. God sees you, He hears you, and He answers your prayers.
This life can be hard, but through trials, the Lord makes us stronger. During times of tribulation, our faith is able to grow and multiply. Romans 5:3-5 shows us that suffering produces perseverance and character, which leads to hope that allows Gods to pour into our hearts through the Holy Spirt.
While there is pressure from society to succeed and meet a certain standard that the world holds us to, through God and the calling He places on our lives, we are able to achieve what He wants for our lives.
1. You Will Know You Are on God’s Path for Your Life When Your Soul Is Restored
Psalm 23:1-3 states, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” And in John 10:9-11, Jesus said of himself:
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
The restoration of your soul means at least two things. First, it means you have put your faith in Jesus, thus he has redeemed you through his righteous sacrifice. Second, it means you are following Jesus. While salvation is not earned through our works (Ephesians 2:8-9), once we receive salvation we will follow Jesus and do the work he has called us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
Even when you have questions about your path, when you are following Jesus, he will grant you a peace because his presence will be restoring you.
2. You Will Know You Are on God’s Path When You Are Working for His Fame and Not Your Own
Psalm 23:3 states, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Do you know that even your own salvation is actually meant for the glory of God? Everything God does, ultimately, he does for his own glory.
In our human reasoning, this seems selfish at first. But notice the connection between God’s glory and our good as seen in Psalm 23:3. His motive is to glorify himself, but how does he do it? He brings glory to his name when “he leads me in paths of righteousness.” His glory and my good are intertwined.
It would be selfish for me or you to do everything for our own glory. But it is not selfish for God to do everything for his glory because he’s actually worthy of all the glory. And when we follow him and put him first, this is actually what is best for us too (Matthew 6:33). God is the most loving, the purest, and the most able to supply everything good. Thus, it would be unloving for God not to tell us to worship him because then we would be missing the best possible path in life.
God’s path always leads to more glory for God which also leads to the most joyful life for us too (Psalm 16:11).
3. You Will Know You Are on God’s Path When You Are Comforted in Uncomfortable Situations
Psalm 23:4 states, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
We imagine God’s path to play out like the cheesy Christian movies we roll our eyes at. We imagine life being hard when we don’t follow Jesus and then life being easy when we do follow Jesus. But this is not the promise God gives us in Scripture.
God doesn’t say his path is the easiest path or the safest path or the wealthiest path. Sometimes God’s path runs right “through the valley of the shadow of death.” But when we are on God’s path, God is there with us. And this is why we can “fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
God’s path is not always comfortable. But God’s presence will always comfort you.
4. You Are on God’s Path When God’s Enemies Hate You
Psalm 23:5 states, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
The westernized version of Christianity is layered with smiles, niceness, and being friends with everyone. But when you read the Bible, God has enemies who hate him, Christians are being assaulted by lovers of sin, and there is a real divide between the church and the world.
Of course Jesus said we should love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and be a light to the lost world through our good deeds (Matthew 5:13-16). But don’t fall for the lie that God’s path means you are at peace with those who hate God (James 4:4). No, God’s enemies will hate you too when they know you stand with God (John 15:18-19).
But we need not fear. God is giving lost people time to repent and come to him (2 Peter 3:9) just like he did for us when we were his enemies (Romans 5:8-10). And in the meantime, God does not remove all our enemies (Matthew 13:28-30) but rather he blesses us in the presence of our enemies as a witness to his greatness (Psalm 23:5).
5. You Are on God’s Path When Your Sins Are Blotted Out with Mercy and You Are Headed to Heaven Because of His Grace
Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” David didn’t end this psalm with, “Surely I will follow God perfectly all the days of my life.” No, David was a sinful man just like we are sinful. Yet, he knew God’s path was full of goodness and mercy.
No Christian lives perfectly, but thankfully we are following a merciful God. Because of Jesus, and not because of our own works, we will dwell with the Lord forever.