“And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. (John 16:8 NLT)
Just so we’re all on the same page, at least for purposes of this post, “righteousness” according to Strong’s is: “the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting” My understanding of all of that is simply: live in a manner that is consistent with Scripture and that honors Jesus.
Psalm 23:3 says: “He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.” As a believer in Jesus, we are given the Holy Spirit to take up residence in our heart and life. He is the One who will renew our strength on a moment-by-moment basis. He is the One who guides us along right paths, and He is the One who will enable us to bring honor to our Savior’s name.
A Broad Path “Used by permission, © Ray Majoran, GlimpseOfInfinity.com”
“But” you may be thinking, “how do I know which ‘path’ is the right one?” Satan is subtle, but predictable. He will always lead you down a path that will be the most alluring to you, in the sense that it will likely be the most appealing and emotionally or physically satisfying. Is that to imply that following Jesus is “a drag, unsatisfying, and unappealing?”
Honestly, when you’re a new believer, it may not be all that appealing. For example. If you’re an alcoholic or drug addict when you come to the Lord, short term it’s going to be a lot more appealing to continue to drink and take drugs than to get sober/clean. If you’re unmarried, it’s likely going to be a lot more appealing to be involved in immoral sexual relations than to pursue purity. There are many others, but hopefully you get the point.
When I was a lot younger my thought life was crude and offensive to God. My heart and mind burned with jealousy, possessiveness, and lust, which resulted in mountains of failure, shame, and guilt. It was hard for me to imagine I could ever be free of those satanic addictions, but, by God’s grace and with the Spirit’s strong presence, over time, as I drew ever closer to the Lord, He delivered me from all of that.
“But how?” Pastor Robert Schuller was fond of saying: “Inch by inch anything’s a cinch!” You can’t follow the right path for a day, a week, a month, or a year, you can only follow it in this moment! Then the next. Then the next. And on and on until one day you wake up and all you want to think about is Jesus. All you want to do is follow Him closely. Your whole life’s ambition is to glorify and honor Him.
You can’t gather all the strength you possess and try to convince yourself “to buckle down and do the right thing.” All you can do is open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit’s leading in this moment and take the first step in the direction of healing and wholeness. Will you fail? Probably. Will you find forgiveness and grace to get up and take another step? Without a doubt.
F. B. Meyer wrote: “The oriental shepherd always walked ahead of his sheep. He was always out in front. Any attack upon the sheep had to take him into account first. Now God is out in front. He is in our tomorrows, and it is tomorrow that fills people with fear. Yet God is already there. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass through Him before they can get to us.”
The Holy Spirit guides us in the paths of righteousness one step at a time. Follow Him and when you fail, His hand will be there to pick you up.
Blessings, Ed 😊