Acknowledging the Path

I've had The Principle of the Path, by Andy Stanley for a while now and my long trip south on the train provided me with a golden opportunity to read it. The subtitle explains the premise of the book: How to get from where you are to where you want to be.

That was Friday. On Saturday night I was working through my head what I needed to say at the church I was to speak at on Sunday morning. To be perfectly truthful I was still struggling as the congregation stood to begin their worship time that morning.

Then it all fell into place. So much of the Scripture that was read and the songs that were sung hooked onto the basic idea behind the book. One particular verse reached out and went "ping" in my mind.

It was the story of the path that needed to be told.

Since the paths we choose result in an inevitable end—and oftentimes an end we didn't want, Stanley's reference to the famous words of Solomon in Proverbs 3:6 make perfect sense.

"In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

So I told the story of my path to this day. As I spoke I knew that God was putting the words in my mouth—he had to, since I had come up with practically none of my own until the moment I stood up.

Stanley reminds his readers that "all" means exactly that. Every choice of path we make needs to God-ordained. And he also reminds his readers that "acknowledge" isn't simply a passing nod to God as we choose what we want to do and expect him to rubber-stamp our choices. Stanley describes it as recognizing who God is and acting accordingly. In other words, SUBMISSION to Almighty God who knows the end from the beginning and making his will our own.

I tend to second-guess myself after I speak. John Piper would call that a sign of lack of trust in God. He's probably right. If I believe that God supplied the words how can I doubt that what I said was what he intended? After the service several people told me how meaningful the story of my path was to them as they walk their own paths.

In the end that's what it's all about: being blessed and being a blessing. Yesterday's opportunity was a chance to be grateful to God for all the way he has led me, to thank him for hanging on to me when I've wandered off his path for my life, and to commit myself again to seek that divinely-ordained path in ALL aspects of my life, make the adjustments necessary to stay on it, and to follow it faithfully.

All in all, the weekend has been as much a ministry to me as it has been to anyone else. That's the way it should be.


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