It abruptly stopped and disappeared beneath our feet. Fortunately, we had a map.
Paths are supposed to lead to a destination. This one did—the top of a mountain. But it didn’t continue or circle back. It simply stopped. Paths are paths because people or animals walk them regularly. Grass is worn because of the traffic. I’ve walked root-littered paths, rock-infested paths, mountain-bald paths, and wooded paths. Some popular paths are even denoted on maps.
Walking paths have a purpose. I’ve never walked one just to say I did. I was going somewhere, looking at the scenery, or taking a shortcut. I’ve walked some paths that disappointed me and others that amazed me.
David was a shepherd and a path walker. “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3 KJV).
God led David to paths of righteousness and gave him the strength to walk them, but wouldn’t force him to. Sometimes, he walked the right path. At other times, he chose the wrong one. God has led me to the same paths, and I’ve followed David’s example: good choices and not-so-good choices.
What paths we take in life and why is important. A modern translation reads, “He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths” (NLT). Right paths lead to love, kindness, integrity, patience, unselfishness, godly living, joy, and peace. God provides the strength to walk these paths, but we must choose them instead of paths leading to the opposite.
When we rebel against the paths our Shepherd leads us to, we throw away the chance to experience life’s best.
The next time you’re tempted to take an alternate route, choose the Shepherd’s path instead.
Prayer: Great Shepherd, guide us to the paths leading to life’s best and strengthen us to walk them.
Martin Wiles is an author, teacher, and freelance editor currently residing in Greenwood, South Carolina. He and his wife Michelle are founders and editors of Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles has authored Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning,Morning Serenity, Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books), Authentic Christianity (Smashwords) and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), and Rise (Chaplain Publishing). He has served as Regional Correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and also written for LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum. He has also been published in Open Windows, Proclaim, The Secret Place, Upper Room, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper,Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, and Power for Living. He is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, and PCC Daily Devotions, and is a regular contributor for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal. Wiles also serves as the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions , the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and as a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. You can follow him @linesfromgod.