Following the Directions: Wednesday in the Word

Back in the days before SIRI gave verbal directions step by step, I was the navigation system for our family trips. With destinations determined, I went to the Mapquest site searched directions from point A to point B and point B to point C. I mapped, printed, and added to a three-ring binder the directions for each destination of our trip.

We never went anywhere without that binder. It held a place of high position on my lap where I read every step in detail to our driver. I followed the directions exactly. Sometimes, it didn’t work. Missed streets, road construction, or reader error took us off-course a few times.

Scrambling to diffuse the quickly rising tension in the car, I reread the directions and scanned the area for signs pointing the way to the correct path. Some issues were easy to detect and correct. Other times, we stopped to ask for help along the way.

With rare exception (because Mapquest could get it wrong at times), when we followed the directions we printed, we reached our destination in good time and with few setbacks.

Following the directions we’re given for destinations we’ve never visited is a no-brainer. If our family wants to visit California from New York, we don’t simply jump in the car and head west hoping to find our destination. There are too many variables to take those kind of chances.

But too often, that’s exactly how we approach the most important road trip we take as believers, the road trip of life. We know where we start. We know our final destination is standing before God waiting to hear “well done good and faithful servant.” But everything in between is a little less clear.

But God has given us what we need to get from point A to point Z while hitting all the important stops alongs the way. Proverbs 3:5-6 assures us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Unlike Mapquest, God’s directions are never wrong. He knows about all the construction zones and one way streets along the way. When we choose to listen and follow the directions He gives us, we can go forward with confidence.

It doesn’t mean the road is always easy. Sinful choices, ours and those of others, add twists and turns we don’t expect. Navigating those times is difficult and can be unnerving if we forget who holds the map to our journey.

But what if I think I hear God saying turn left, and He really wanted me to go right? Don’t worry. God wants us to succeed in living Christ-like lives that set us apart as His children. Our failure to hear Him clearly and follow the directions He gives us doesn’t mean we’re lost forever off His path.

God understands our heart’s desire to stay on the path He gives us, and He gently leads us back to it. Our error may add some difficulty to the journey, but He will use even that to grow us into the image of His Son.

We find the key to following the directions God gives in the rest of the verse.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. I trust. But do I do it with ALL my heart? Is there something I’m holding back? An area where I want to snatch the map from God and chart my own course? A place where I think I know more than Him?

In all your ways acknowledge Him. I believe God all day, every day. But do I make Him the direction giver in ALL the things I do? What about my dreams? Have I allowed Him to direct the priorities I set in my life? Do I let God have every thought and action at work? At home? At church? Everywhere?

When we trust and acknowledge, the Holy Spirit inside us can speak clearly to our hearts. The paths we’re to take become more obvious. Following the directions He gives is easier enabling us to move with confidence down the road to our destination.

What do we need to give to God today so we can clearly hear and follow the directions He gives us?

 

 

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