I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,

that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

Jeremiah 10: 23

 

Self-determination is a big thing to most people. We want to be in control of our lives. We desire to call the shots and to pick our way through life. This characteristic is not an accident or the product of the independence that is in the water of our modern culture. It is a product of the way that God designed and made us. Problems occur when we take this drive to make decisions for ourselves to that next step that Adam and Eve did by determining that we know as much or more than God does about how to conduct our lives. So, we set ourselves up as our own final authority regarding the actual conduct of life.

 

As this happens we set human wisdom and understanding on a plane that is superior to that of God, and in keeping with this prioritization we turn to other people and to their thinking in preference to seeking out God Himself as our first and our final authority in all matters. History and personal experience have demonstrated quite clearly that this approach is wrong. It provides answers and direction and much of what comes about is good and successful; yet, it will always fail and fall short of achieving justice and righteousness. It will always lead to seeking power and gain for one’s self over doing those things that are at the heart of God’s will.

 

Instead, the makeup and the character of people can be used for great good in our world. This drive and strength that God imparted into our nature can be directed into the sort of work that brings a touch of the divine into the world where we reside. This comes about as we yield control and place ourselves under the absolute authority of the Lord. When the truth of God’s Word and the direction of His will as expressed through the Spirit set our way through the day, our steps will fall into line with the path that God orders for us. Then the way that we walk will be one in which we are stepping in the footprints of Christ.

 

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Hebrews 12: 1

 

It seems to me that the time that is showing on the clock doesn’t matter and my schedule for the day is unimportant, for my true state of mind and heart comes from inside of me. Regardless of the external situation and circumstances, there are too many days when I just don’t see so clearly. These are the times when the words that I keep repeating to myself are words of discouragement and doubt. These are the days that are marked by more disability than by empowerment. The crazy thing about all of this is that the negativity that becomes so all encompassing and that pervades every corner of my mind is mostly self-generated. I become my own worst enemy, and Satan is simply delighted when I do this.

 

Christ wants me to remember the fact that He has surrounded me with people who have walked through the same sort of life course as I have. Their experiences are recorded in His word from its inception. He has literally filled my world with real, skin-wearing, and honest individuals who struggle and weep, who fall down and get back up, and who give in to sin and still end the day victorious. God wants me to look outwardly and to see the lives of others so that I won’t become so inwardly focused that I can’t see His glorious path for my life and hear His voice encouraging me to embrace it fully.

 

We are intended to go through this life in the company of others. God designed us to live in community and to be contributors to that group, also. I need to keep reminding myself that when the doubt starts to form and I begin to become oppressed and overwhelmed by life, there is a large historical and current family that I belong to. They are with me as I travel along each and every step of today’s path. Additionally, it is my privilege and my responsibility to join others in their journey, for together we have the strength to keep going all the way to the finish.