Summary: 4th in a 6 part series on surviving stress. This series uses the popular "Survivor" TV show as a "hook" and Psalm 23 as the Biblical foundation.
INTRODUCTION: Video Clip - The Rookie - Chapter 9 -12:20 - 15:27
That clip probably only showed a fraction of the struggle that Jim and Laurie Morris’ had to endure to accept a pro baseball offer at his age with all his family responsibilities. Another tough decision came 2 years later when Jim Morris had actually made it to the Majors but retired because he wanted more time with his family. Now, there’s not many that will have to make a decision to play sports, especially at the age of 35 like Jimmy Morris. But all of us face difficult decisions. Life is full of moments when we also must answer the question, “Are you considering this?” with “I don’t know.” So many decisions are difficult, what we decide does affect others and lead us down one road or another. But, is it the right way?
So, how do we know which is the right decision? How do we find out which is the right road to take? Well, David writes in Psalm 23:3b "He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake." He says the Survival Kit for the stress of indecision is to let God guide you. Remember, "The Lord is my Shepherd” so The Shepherd is my Lord. And the good Shepherd not only promises to feed us, but lead us, not only provide, but guide, not only protect, but direct.
So, let’s look at this verse and a companion passage in Pro. 3 & learn how we can allow our Lord, the Shepherd to lead us. Interestingly, when David uses the phrase “paths of righteousness,” he is literally saying “on the right road.” So, David would say to us, “The Lord will keep you on the right track if you’ll let Him.” So, let’s dig in to God’s Word, the Bible, and see how we can let God “lead us in paths of righteousness.”
I. UNDERSTANDING GOD’S GUIDANCE IN OUR DECISION MAKING:
Let’s begin by understanding the Biblical concept of God’s will. So many people are confused on this issue. But the Bible makes it clear that God wants to guide you. In fact, if your life is like mine, there have been times quite honestly, when He has wanted to guide you more than you want to be guided. So, here are 3 misconceptions that people have about God’s guidance in our decision making that I hope will clear away some of the confusion and make us more open to utilizing God’s guidance.
(1) God’s will cannot be determined in this life. There are some who would say it’s a waste of time to try and determine God’s will. They quote Isa.55:8-9. “God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts.. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways higher than your ways..” so we cannot know His will. But the Bible teaches quite the opposite. God wants us to know His will for our lives. Pro. 3 says it plainly, "He will direct your paths."(NLT) Literally the Hebrew word means "to make a crooked path straight." Other scriptures teach this principle. Read these scriptures aloud with me. Psa.143:10- "Teach me to do what you want for You are my God. Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground."(NCV) Eph.5:17- "Don’t be foolish, understand what the Lord’s will is." Scripture teaches us not only can we know God’s will, we should be earnestly seeking out His will on a daily basis. Romans 12:2- "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is."(NLT) A person who wants to know God is to be seeking what God wants, praying for God’s will & guidance, to "direct your paths."
(2) Here’s a second misconception. God’s will is always unpleasant. I know quite a few people who are afraid to seek what God wants, who don’t want to surrender to God’s will because they are afraid He will make them miserable. “If I surrender my life to God why He’ll immediately send me to be a missionary to Iraq or say I can’t have a glass of wine at dinner or He’ll make me give 50% of my income to the church. No thank-you!” That’s not true. Sure, while God may call you to sacrifice something for your good, the truth is His will is not usually unpleasant. Like the little child who doesn’t understand why they can’t run out in the street or touch a hot stove, God’s ways are for your good, it is to fulfill your life not constrict it. Rom. 12:1-2 urges us to surrender to God so we can prove what is "..how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is." God’s will isn’t unpleasant, it’s pleasing. It’s disobedience that bring misery. Psa. 37:4- "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." I don’t think that means if you surrender to the Lord He will give you everything you want, just like that child who won’t be able to run out into the street, but when you surrender to Him, He changes the desires of your heart to coincide with His.