your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6 NIV
Though still morning, the humidity swaddled us in damp that
clung to my body and salty beads of sweat stung my eyes. The breeze I had
enjoyed earlier had ceased, and the air hung stagnant. Sunlight filtered through the trees, making a
kaleidoscope of green and yellow. The
pine needle littered path absorbed the sound of our footfalls and the cicadas
buzzed in the trees filling our ears with their drone. My fellow travelers and
I had fallen silent, the three of us seemingly lost in our thoughts plodded in
single file through the woods. I pulled
my tube from my camel pack and drank deeply of the cooling water that I carried
on my back. A cacophony of bird song
seemed to precede us, no doubt warning the wood’s inhabitants of our
presence. Ahead the trail divided, we
stopped to consult the map. It was a divide that came back together further
down the trail. One side was for bikes
the other hikers, we took a right, continuing our trek. However, in the back of my mind, the thought
lingered. Did we read the map
correctly? Will this trail merge again
on the path back to the parking lot?
Life is often the same when we come
to a crossroad. How do we know we have
made the right decision or chosen the correct path? Throughout life, we face
choices. Some are life-altering, not
just to us but those in our lives. Other
decisions transcend this physical world and extends into the next. Each of us has a path to follow, and along
this pathway, we have decisions and choices that influence the journey. This path refers to how we choose to live and
what we do with our limited time. The Bible has several scriptures that address
pathways, decisions, and crossroads. My
personal favorite is Proverbs 3:6. If we
are obedient, and involve God on our choices, consult him on decisions, he has
promised to lead us onto straight paths.
The path will not always be easy.
There will be hills, rocks, and dangers, but you will not travel alone.
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25
Hurrying down the hallway, the girl pushed her way into the lunchroom. She found her friends and with a smile as wide and as bright as dawn, she blurted out, “Someone asked me to the dance!”
The table erupted with giggles and chatter and of course the question burning on everyone’s mind. “Well, who is it?”
She leaned back grinning, allowing the tension to build, and when she could no longer contain herself, she whispered his name. Her friends looked from one another and then laughed.
“What?” she asked, her furrowed brow burned with embarrassed heat.
“You mean, you don’t know? He used to eat paste.”
“So all little kids do.” Her voice raised above the din of the midday diners.
“No, I mean like in the sixth and seventh grade. It was weird.”
All the girls begin to laugh. The excitement that just moments ago brimmed drained away replaced by hot tears. She wanted to run back down the hallway and hide. How could she go to the dance with him now? What would all her friends think?
We all care about what people think. We worry about fitting in with people, being accepted. We want everyone to like us, but at what cost? Not everyone will like you. Not everyone will approve of you, and that is OK. If Jesus had cared about fitting in or making everyone like him, he indeed would have never chosen to die on the cross with common criminals so that you could have eternal life. He would have hung around the Pharisees, but instead, he chose the tax collectors, fishers, prostitutes, a crowd of women, a doctor and a guy that ran around in camel skins and ate bugs (Matt. 3:4).
Proverbs 29:25 reads, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” What does that verse mean? It has nothing to do with being afraid in the sense that we think of the word “fear,” but rather, it means “to fear the disapproval of man.” This verse deals with our insecurities. Worrying about what others think is a snare. The word snare refers to the traps a hunter sets to catch small animals and birds. Allowing ourselves to worry what people think entraps us in fear, doubt, and gags us. Do not focus on what people think. Instead, put your trust in the Lord.
andgive no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:27
I sent a text to myparents Friday afternoon. It read, “Ihave had more wins than loses this week, so I count the week a win.” I indeed had enjoyed a fairly positive weekhowever, there had been one incident that preyed on my thoughts. No matter how much I tried to focus on thepositives of the week that one failure kept nagging me. Before I knew it my mood clouded and I letall my attention fall on that one event.
How easily we allow our joy to be stolen. In all that was accomplished, I found no satisfaction because I could not let the one insignificant event go. That is exactly what the enemy wants. He wants to refocus my thoughts on the negative, things that encourage resentment, anxiety, anger and frustration. The weight of these emotions cause my spirit to sink and then the negative voices begin to whisper in my mind. What do we do when this happens? We steer our thoughts to Jesus. Consciously breathe, soften your body, relax and then put up your hand and say, “I’m not going down that road. I am choosing to focus on Jesus and keeping my joy!”
Feelings of resentment,anxiety, fear, anger and frustration are not of God. They are from the enemy and he will dowhatever he can to bring you down and burden you. If you are burden and your spirit low, youare unable to lift up those around you. If you are filled with joy then it is easier for you to accomplish yourspiritual mission, which is to glorify God by spreading love and light.