BE THE MAP
Proverbs 12:26 [ESV] One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
We are all aware of the fact that God is to be our guide. It has been popular for some time to ask ourselves “what would Jesus do?” before taking action. David points to God’s leadership and guidance in many Psalms. Here are two examples:
Psalm 31:3 [KJV] 3 For thou [art] my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
Psalm 48:14 [KJV] 14 For this God [is] our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide [even] unto death.
But Proverbs 12:26 reminds us that we are to be a guide to others around us.
As followers of Jesus, we should have wisdom beyond what I natural – wisdom that is divinely lead and superior to even the best of human wisdom. As seasoned Christians, people should be able to look to us for wisdom and advice that is sound, Holy Spirit let and Bible inspired.
As followers of Jesus, are to show the fruit of the Spirit in how we live our lives. If we do, our behavior will be different from most of the world around us. When we show joy in the midst of trials, when it seems like a very tough time to be joyful; when we show love although the natural reaction would be to respond in hate; when we sow peace with those who would call themselves our enemies or exhibit inner peace in the most troubled times; when we show patience in our very impatient world, our actions say, “This is the way.”
Isaiah 30:20-21 [NIV], pointing to a future time for God’s people says, 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
As believers today, our lives should say, “This is the way; walk in it” to those who observe how we live, even if they never seek words of guidance from us.
Of course, I am human. I stumble and fail in my efforts to be a consistently good map for others. Maybe you do too. But, even in our failures, if we then admit sin or fault, seek forgiveness and work to be better the next time, we still set a good example of the right path for a Christian to follow. Even when we fail, we can be a living map toward ultimate success.
Even Paul knew he had to give a qualifier for those who would seek to follow his example. So, he said, Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. [1Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)]
As the Psalms remind us, if we are ever unsure of the path to take, God is our true guide as long as we live. We can search His word and seek Him in prayer whenever we need guidance. That example of seeking and study is also a good guide for those neighbors who might be watching.
It is humbling, and a bit scary, to think that others are watching my life to see where I am headed and if that is the right path to take. But this is part of the purpose in my being called in this age instead of, say, in the Millennium, after Jesus returns – to be a guide to others. This is the message of Luke 11:33 [ESV] "No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. The purpose of a God-led life is not to just be good for us, it is also to be an example for others.
And, because a church organization is made up of individuals who are following God’s map for their lives, others should be able to look at the church and see how to properly follow God’s map for handling the issues that come up whenever imperfect humans come together with wisdom, mercy, patience, grace and, above all, love. But that is the subject for another blog.
Sisters, I am sure the path of your life is ultimately leading to the Kingdom. But, remember that God wants others to be able to see that this is where you are heading when they look at your lives. Everyone should be saying, “What would Jesus do?” or “What did Jesus do in a similar circumstance?”
However, if my life is being led by God as it should be, others, even those who do not acknowledge God yet, even atheists and those of other religions whose lives intersect with mine for any reason, should also be able to say, “What did Nancy do in a similar circumstance to what I am facing?” Even thought there may be some potholes in my path, others should be able to learn from those too. That’s a big responsibility. But it is part of our calling to be a map to others.
I welcome your comments and questions. You can write me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.