“He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3b NIV)
One of the great scandals of the gospel is that the God who is almighty in power and who is holy love in character hitches his reputation to his work on, in, among, and through people like us. The Church has been criticized harshly at times when that criticism was inaccurate and unfair. Yet, certainly we can admit that the Church has been criticized harshly at times when that criticism was well deserved. We are an imperfect group of folks.
But for some reason, still God ties his reputation to our walking “along the right paths.” After all, “He guides [us] along right paths for his name’s sake” (emphasis mine). In other words, God is all in on us growing in grace, increasing in spiritual maturity, and becoming faithful disciples of Jesus.
So, perhaps a question for us is: Are we all in on our spiritual growth as well?
We may not understand his ways, but we cannot doubt his commitment. We may be baffled by his methods, but we cannot doubt his determination. After all, God’s will for our lives can be notoriously difficult to discern but his will for our character is no mystery at all. Just look at Jesus.
Exercise: Continue to practice this verse as a breath prayer throughout the day, to let it really get inside you. Then, practice praying through this simple sentence of scripture. Here’s one way (of many) that might look.
Prayer: Lord, I praise you that you guide me where you call me. You guide me in good times and bad, in darkness and light, in plenty and in sparseness. Thank you for preparing the way before me and for modeling the “right path life” for me in the life of Jesus. Thank you for putting your name and reputation on the line and for being completely committed to me. Grant me your Spirit, that I may know your presence and your direction. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.