Traveling on the Path of Righteousness Devotional Reading and Podcast
Many professions, including attorneys, accountants, doctors, and nurses require a professional exam for licensure. The academic journey is tough and rugged because the student’s knowledge base is not only crammed with massive amounts of theoretical information, they must learn to evaluate, use critical thinking skills, and make astute judgments in a matter of a few minutes.
Achieving one’s goal not only requires the humility to let go of prior knowledge but also possessing the strength to withstand extremely intimidating professors who are deemed experts in their professions. The intimidation is useful in eliminating the students with weak characters who would succumb to the pressures of real-life rigors of professional practice.
Pursuing one’s dreams demands sacrifice. A lifestyle that included frivolous activities ceases to exist. With perseverance, the resolve to achieve long-awaited goals consumes most of the body’s energy. Time management is critical because study and preparation result in sleep deprivation leaving little to no time for socialization.
One of the most difficult transitions to cope with is the separation from family and friends which may progress to isolation for the first time. The long journey may dissuade those who promised their support at the onset, yet for various reasons are not able to fulfill their prior commitment to be there at goal completion. Still, prioritizing one’s life when achieving educational and professional goals is the key to a successful outcome even if you must do it alone.
Each of us has received innate talents and spiritual gifts along with the ability to dream. The pursuit of academic degrees, technical skills, and self-employment from start-up businesses are just a few of the countless options that we have. Although advancements have given us many choices, Christians must align their goals with God’s righteous principles.
We are not our own. God requires that we develop our talents and spiritual gifts to be used for His glory and honor not only for our benefit. As Christ’s followers, we have the responsibility to minister to others. Our educational and professional pursuits reflect that we uphold godly standards and lifestyles. Our earthly pursuits reveal our desire for eternal life.
Walking and Staying on the Path of Righteousness is Our Priority
The same drive and perseverance that we possess to achieve our goals are also required to stay on the Path of Righteousness. “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
Believers not only must remain steadfast in their commitment to achieving future goals, but we also have the additional responsibility of obedience to God by asking for His blessing of approval before taking steps to bring our plans to fruition. First, we present our desires to the Lord in prayer. Then we wait for God’s answer of yes or no. Our dreams must align with God’s plans for our lives to receive His blessing.
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.'” –Isaiah 55:8-9
But doesn’t God give us free will to choose? Yes, He does. If we decide to bypass God and move forward with our plans then we become players in the game of chance. Being powerless to predict the future outcomes of our endeavors places us in a lose-lose situation. Disobedience to God causes wayward thought processes. If we are willing to disobey God then we will not maintain our integrity when confronted by situations that demand compromise.
Overconfidence and Self-Reliance are Detours from the Path of Righteousness
Testimonial: The young woman explained that she was fixated on her dream to start a consultant business. Asking the church to pray for her endeavor and being prepared to move forward resulted in God speaking through someone to tell her to wait. But why wait? She had the funds to start, business contacts who gave her leads, and prospective clients. As the Women’s Ministry leader at her church, she and her team were active in the community. During the initial six months, the business thrived, but in the seventh month, the list of clients declined her consultant services and contacting business associates proved to be fruitless.
Without clients the business faltered, leaving her bankrupt. Not only did she lose her savings, house, and vehicle, but while the business was thriving, she stopped attending church and resigned as the ministry leader. But most importantly, she lost her relationship with Christ. In desperation, she applied for a high-interest loan to place a second mortgage on the house, but God intervened and the loan was denied. She explained that in God’s mercy, after losing everything she valued, there was just enough money to rent a small apartment. Her testimony ended with, “Please wait on God!”
Detours from the Path: Disobedience leads to the Compromise of our Integrity
Something happens when we invest time and money into our dreams and the tide turns to bring pending failure with it. Satan sees his opportunity and presents options that force us to compromise when attempting to save our business, financial investment or maintain a high academic standing. Temptations: A class you are barely passing and someone offers the answers to the exam or seeking a high-interest loan by putting a second mortgage on your home to save the failing business venture.
The quote by Pablo Escobar exposes the truth of humanity’s weaknesses: “Everyone has a price, the important thing is to find out what it is.” Human behavior is more predictable than most will acknowledge.
Without God’s approval, we chose to disobey God. The waiting season has caused many to stumble. We easily convince ourselves that it is the right time and we rely on our expertise to achieve our dreams. Overconfidence prevents us from anticipating failure. Suffering from the negative consequences of moving forward without God’s blessings results in one of two reactions, acknowledging our disobedience or blaming uncontrollable circumstances for the demise of our dreams.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). The NASB translation says, “He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.”
Self-measurement of our character will never equal God’s definition of integrity. The English meaning of the word integrity means to adhere to moral and ethical principles. The Spiritual meaning of integrity includes much more: “It is really the word for perfection and completion so we will know how to act perfectly before God and others.” https://www.chaimbentorah.com/2017/07/word-study-integrity/
The future belongs to God. Our Heavenly Father’s answer of no is His Divine protection to keep us from disaster. We often forget that God knows our lives from beginning to end and is aware of every temptation we will face and the situation that will cause us to compromise our integrity.
Pride is the Roadblock that Prevents Us from Staying on the Path of Righteousness
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” –Romans 12:3
Self-reliance is a bitter fruit of pride that causes us to trust our inclinations. Thinking too highly of ourselves is fueled by the mindset that we are in control of our lives. We boldly say, “I can do this and win!” Satan will attempt to use the Scriptures against God, “Didn’t God say that He would never withhold any good thing from the righteous?” And we think, Yes, I am righteous, and proceed with our plans for success.
However, the apostle Paul reveals our fight against carnal desires, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do (Romans 7:15 and 19). None of our exempt from playing the game of chance when we are driven to achieve our desires.
Knowing the propensity to choose our sinful desires, has God created impossible standards for humanity? For those who think, yes, He has. We can refer to those who pleased God. God has given us examples of those who stayed on the Path of Righteousness.
Joshua’s challenge: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
“Then it happened, as they continued and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11).
“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed [shunned] evil” (Job 1:1).
“Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24). “By faith, Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).
God’s Exalted and Righteous Standards–God’s standards differ greatly from human standards. Acquisition of knowledge does not elevate our status with God nor does it produce the Fruit of the Spirit which reflects the anointing and transforming power of the Holy Spirit upon our lives. Faith, trust, obedience, and the Spiritual Transformation of our characters are requisites to serve God and to stay on the Path of Righteousness.
Satan desires that we embrace his lie that God’s righteous standards are impossible for us to reach. Some things are impossible: Pleasing God without faith, attempting to stay on the Path of Righteousness by using our efforts, receiving spiritual transformation without the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit, and the expectation of receiving the reward of eternal life when we possess pride and a spirit of disobedience.
Humility, Reverence, and Gratitude for God’s Divine Love, Grace, and Mercy Help to Keep Us On the Path of Righteousness.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:10-11)
King David’s prayer represents a righteous person who suffered a great fall because he pursued his carnal desires. Every day we fight the internal battle of giving in to our fleshly desires [anything that causes us to disobey God] and the spiritual warfare of temptations by Satan.
“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse” (Proverbs 24:16).
God knows the desperately wicked condition of our hearts and the inner battle we face every day. Even so, not only do we have access to Divine Help 24/7, we are gifted with a sound mind and the power [2 Timothy 1:7] to shun evil and resist temptation. The determination to stay on the Path of Righteousness begins with loving God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds.
The righteous who rise again possess hearts filled with humility and strive to please God by readily surrendering themselves wholly to God. With a contrite spirit, we recognize our desperate need for Christ. And Jesus promises us that we will receive the greatest blessings from God. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
Receiving the Power to Resist Detours and Stay on the Path of Righteousness
“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)
We are temporary sojourners on this earth–preparing for eternal life. The Devil is a liar! God has not left us helpless! Through prayer, we proclaim our love for Christ by surrendering our mind, body, and soul to Him. The daily prayerful plea for God’s Divine Intervention in our lives gives us the ability to rebuke temptations. It is up to us to use our free will of choice and live righteously. Surrendering our will allows us to receive the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power every day.
Divine Intervention always brings victory! The human effort of obedience and loyalty along with God’s power enables us to resist the detours of Satan’s deceptions. Remain steadfast! We have the intervention of our Spiritual team including guardian and messenger angels whose mission is to protect us and keep us on the Path of Righteousness.
“‘Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'” –Isaiah 41:10
Hold on to the Savior’s hand and never let go. With Jesus holding us and receiving the Divine gifts of strength and power, we will persevere! Staying on the Path of Righteousness in our earthly lives will allow us to receive our reward of Eternal Life!
Scripture: “Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Prayer: God, we pray for Your Divine Help! We are in desperate need of the redeeming blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins of pride and disobedience. We need Jesus to walk with us. We ask for the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit to enable us to stay on the Path of Righteousness. We love You! And ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.