Thursday, March 13, 2014

Follow The Yellow Brick Road?

The future can be a scary concept. We don't know what it holds, and we don't know what choices to make now that will make our future's the best that they can be. 

Lately I've been thinking a lot about my future, and what I'm going to do with my life. There's a never ending list of different things I could do, a million different branches off this road that I have to choose from. 

It all comes down to this question: which one is the right one? I know there is a right path, the one that God would have me to follow... but exactly how am I supposed to figure out which one out of the millions is the right path for me?

I wish that like Dorthy in the Wizard of O.Z. I would have the right path just laid out in front of me, clearly marked, and someone would give me the assurance that it was indeed the right path that would lead me to the correct destination.

Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are approximately zero. So what am I supposed to do? I am supposed to be making decisions now that will be effecting me for the rest of my life!

As I was musing over all this one Sunday morning, I came across a verse in Proverbs 4:26, which says,

"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established."

Of course, reading that reminded me of that verse in Psalm 119: 105
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

And as soon as I was done reading that verse, I was startled to have my eye caught by yet another verse, Psalm 119; 101

I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word."

...And guess what, ANOTHER verse popped out at me, that was just across the page, Psalm 119:11

"Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee."

Needless to say, I was kinda thinking something along the lines of "Ookkkaaaayyy... God, if you're trying to teach me something here, please help me understand!"
I started to look at these verse more closely, and I've (well, not me, God is the one who showed them to me!) from them devised a list of "rules" to guide me on my path to finding God's will for my life.

The first verse from Proverbs tells me that I need to think about how my choices will effect me, and where they will take me. This isn't just talking about the big choices in life, it's talking about everyday choices too. There's a quote, (and it's attributed to many different sources) that goes something like this,

"Watch your thoughts, because they become words. Watch you words, because they become your actions. Watch you actions, because they become your habits. Watch your habits, because they become your character. And watch your character, because it becomes your destiny." 

So basically, everything you think affects your entire life.
2nd Corinthians 10:5 says,

"...Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

Naturally, if your entire thought life is revolving around Christ, this will exemplify itself in your choices, and in turn your entire life. So, in everything, we need to be thinking critically through a Christ-like mindset.

The second part of the verse, that says, 

"Let all thy ways be established."

Tells me that no matter what path I end up on, I need to have integrity. Maybe this seems like a simplistic thing, but I've noticed in my own life, it's really easy to follow God until you reach your goal, and then somehow conveniently forget how you got there, and just get too busy with whatever it is. Well, part of having integrity is going to be continuing to take captive every thought, and live every day to the glory of God.

So, from this verse I know I need to:

1. Think about my choices before I make them -- ponder, scrutinize, and examine each path before going down it.

2. Have integrity, no matter where I am in life.

The next verse from Psalm 119:105 immediately tells me that God's word "is a lamp unto my feet". You have to think about this for a minute: what exactly is this saying? If I was walking in the dark, I wouldn't be able to tell if there was something that I would trip over, or stumble on and fall. But this verse is telling me that God's word can reveal those things along the way. That His word will be a lamp, to light the places where I step. 

With God's word light my path, I can avoid the things I would stumble upon all together! Of course, I can't have this guidance without actually reading God's word, every day. This ties in with the last point about integrity. God's word needs to be a consistent lamp to light my way, otherwise it won't do me much good. He is with me all the time, consistently light my footpath with each step I take. I'd like to phrase this one as:

3. Don't Kick The Lamp!

God's word cam always be alight for me, but if I kick it aside and don't pay attention, it won't do me any good.

The second part of the verse says, 

"[God's word] is a light unto my path." 

This tells me that God's help is not limited to my immediate circumstances, but he can light my entire path! He not only can reveal the roots I might trip on, but He also lights up the entire path, so I can see the big warning signs too! God can help me in the present, and in the future! He is not confined to one or the other. 

I'm labeling this one:

4. Look at The Big Picture

If I'm too focused on not tripping, I'll be staring at my feet the whole time! Make sure to keep your eyes on the road ahead, and where it leads, too.

The next two verse are inverses of eachother, really.
Psalm 119: 101 says, 

"I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word."

And Psalm 119: 11 says, 

"Thy word I have hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee."

Basically, keep God's word in your heart [mind] and it'll be easier for you to not sin against Him! These verses aren't difficult to decipher. The underlying principle found in them is that I need to store God's word in my heart, keep it there, hide it there, let it become part of my heart.

Proverbs 4:23 says, 

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

What better way to "keep my heart" than to fill it with what is Godly? If my heart, my core, is where the "issues of life" [a.k.a. my worldview] are stored, the best way to keep that part of myself pure and holy is to fill it with what is pure and holy. 

GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. 

I need to make a conscientious effort to put in what is Godly, so I'll have a Godly worldview. 

Godly In, Godly Out.

Philippians 4:8

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

The bottom line is, even though it might not always be as obvious as following the yellow brick road, God can still guide you through this life. Read is word to you! You may not even realize God is helping you to know what choice to make at all -- but if you delve into His word, let it saturate your heart, then it WILL guide and help you. 

That's what that verse in Proverbs 4 is saying, (paraphrasing here) what you put into your heart, is what will come out.

5. GIGO - Godly In, Godly Out

Saturate and marinate yourself in God's word!

So my five rules are:

1. Think About Your Choices Before You make Them
  • Ponder them, scrutinize them. Use God's word as a microscope. How will your choice effect you now, and how will it effect your future?
2. Have Integrity
  • Don't hang God out to dry once you've gotten to where you think you need to be. He is vital in your survival!
3. Don't Kick The Lamp!
  • If you use God's word as a lamp to light your footpath, you wont be so prone to tripping on things you can't see -- you'll be able to see them!
4. Look At The BIG Picture
  • Don't focus too much on watching your feet (don't give up on it, either!), you also need to see the big picture. God can light your entire path, He can light up the sings alone the side of the path that will warn you of danger ahead.
5. GIGO - Godly In, Godly Out
  • God may not give you a direct answer to your life questions, but if you hide His word in your heart, His precepts and values will help you make those decisions.

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