“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3b).
David confidently says of the Lord, “He leads me…” Does He lead you? Here are some guidelines for following Jesus as your Shepherd:
BY FAITH IN THE LORD. David began this Psalm with “The Lord is My Shepherd…” God will not lead those who do not have a faith commitment to Him. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him for he who cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.” Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established.” This means you spend time in prayer, asking the Lord to guide you
BY OUR SHEPHERD’S EXAMPLE. David says, “He leadeth me…” Cowboys drive cows and horses, but a skilled shepherd leads his sheep. Jesus, speaking of Himself says, “He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him; for they know His voice” (John 10:4). Jesus has gone before us, setting a perfect example. “…He has done all things well…” (Mark 7:37). He went before us through His cross and resurrection. He opened heaven for us, ascending to the right hand of God. Charles Sheldon’s classic, In His Steps, challenges us to ask, “What would Jesus do?” in following Him.
BY HIS WORD. “…IN PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS…” The Bible is our standard for righteous paths. You don’t have to pray about robbing banks, telling lies, or sex outside of marriage. The Bible has already said, “Don’t!” Even things that are not mentioned in the Bible are dealt with in principle. Read the Bible and follow it.
BY SEEKING GODLY COUNSELORS. Solomon says, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). After prayer and Bible study, talk to Godly counselors. Start with your parents if they are still available. No one on earth cares for you more than your parents; even if you are grown. They still have more experience than you. Their counsel is especially helpful if they are living Godly lives; however, even if they aren’t Christians, they care and can share what they have learned. Talk to your pastor, your bible class teacher, a Godly elder or deacon, or other Godly relatives and friends, particularly those who are older than you and have struggled with the issues you are wrestling with.
BY HIS NAME. “For His name’s sake.” When we walk in right paths, our Lord’s name is glorified. Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). He also says, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6b). We usually interpret this for salvation but it is equally true in prayer. Jesus is our access in prayer to the Father. This is far more than closing our prayer “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” His name includes His cross and resurrection. It should mean we are one with Him like a wife signing her husband’s name to a check.
BY HIS PEACE. This Psalm reflects God’s peace throughout. Paul said, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts….” (Colossians 3:15). Finally, write down the various options and ask which will glorify our Lord’s name most. When you walk in God’s will, you will have God’s peace. When you stray from God’s paths, you will have heaviness. Prayerfully make that decision, writing it down in pencil. Sleep on it. If you have God’s peace about it in the morning, go with it. If you have heaviness, go through the prayer steps again. Let Him lead you in those “…paths of righteousness…” They are paths of safety, fruitfulness and happiness. Amen!