PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
(The Lord Is My Shepherd - Part 5 - Psalm 23:3)
“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Today’s message is a Word of love from the Shepherd’s heart. He sees and knows His sons and daughters and He delights in them. He sees our struggles, our victories and challenges. He knows how much we want to please Him, and He says today: “Let Me help you. Let me show you how you can overcome.” Let the Holy Spirit minister to you as He reminds us about the simple truths contained in these few words of Psalm 23.
We cannot be righteous in our own strength and with the exercise of our will power, determination, discipline etc. Neither can anyone (God or man) punish or push a person into true righteousness. Psalm 23 tells us that “He leads us in the paths of righteousness”. Every good choice we make, every “God” choice, is enabled, inspired and empowered by God through His sweet Spirit dwelling in us. It is the reality of the Holy Spirit living in you and me who makes it possible for us to walk in His righteousness; to say ‘no’ to what is evil and ‘yes’ to what is good. We do not have to grit our teeth, mortify our flesh and force ourselves on. He makes it easy and enables us. What He requires from us is that we lay our striving down and allow ourselves to be led. He is calling us to learn to trust Him and listen to His voice so that He can lead us in those paths of righteousness. They are the paths that take us into all the awesome things that Daddy God has planned for each of his kids, the upward paths that lead us from strength to strength and from glory to glory. The next time you are challenged and trying to make the right choices, just ask the Holy Spirit to help you and lead you into the Father’s will. He will!
His paths of righteousness. It is such a relief to know that we do not have to figure out how to please God, because He makes it clear to us in His Word. They are His paths of righteousness. We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” As we enter into relationship with God through the blood of Jesus we become His righteousness. We become new creatures in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is all about the relationship with Him and our co-operation with His loving purposes for our lives, and the more we yield to the moving of the Holy Spirit, the more we are transformed into His likeness and image. It is good news that we can receive, in faith, what we could never achieve with all our discipline and efforts. The Word of God tells us that God’s thoughts are different to ours, and His ways higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). I would rather trust Him and yield to His thoughts and His way than try to make things work doing it my way! Righteousness is walking His way and living in unity with Him.
It is all for His name’s sake. We carry the Lord’s name upon our lives (Christ-ian) and therefore, everything we do (or refrain from doing) reflects back on the family Name and upon the Father who has brought us in to be His own! There may be some believers who are concerned about living up to their (earthly) family name, or maintaining their reputation, but may not stop to think about how much their decisions and actions may cause an impact on the name of Jesus (positively or negatively). The good news is that Papa helps us all by the power of His Spirit because we are His kids and He has promised do so. He helps us for His name’s sake, because we are a part of Him and we carry His name.
God loves you for all the efforts you have been making, but it could be that you have not seen a breakthrough because you have been battling in your own strength or relying on the arm of flesh. Whatever you are trying to overcome, yield the situation or struggle to the Holy Spirit today. James 4:7 tells us that when we submit to the Lord and say ‘no’ to the devil, the devil flees from us. The more you give yourself to the Holy Spirit, the more you will know victory in every area of your life. In the power of the Spirit, you are more than a conqueror and a winner. This is what Jesus died to give you – the totality of His forgiveness, healing and freedom, which is the reality of His abundant life. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you in His paths of righteousness and He will lead you into the fullness of Abba’s awesome plans for you. God loves you and wants the best for you, and this is what you will receive when you trust Him and yield yourself to Him, praying “Come Holy Spirit and fill me. I need your help today. I give myself completely to you and I trust You to give me the victory in Jesus’ name, amen.” He hears your prayer and He is leading you in the right direction. You are walking in the paths of His righteousness for His name’s sake!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 28 October 2013