The Christian life is depicted as a journey. A walk with God. We are to walk in the light of His commands and not in the counsel of the wicked. We are to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. We are to stand by the road and look, and ask for the ancient paths where the good way is; and walk in it and so find rest for our souls (Jeremiah 6:16).
This means learning to read the signposts so that we don’t veer left and find ourselves walking off a cliff.
You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left (Deuteronomy 5:32).
When we encounter billboards that would tempt us to leave the path, we are to turn neither to the right, nor to the left, but to keep right on walking humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).
When tempted to lie, we walk on. When tempted to wander down envy avenue or flattery lane we walk on.
God’s word is a lamp to light our path. If you look down and can’t see God’s word under your toes, you are not walking in the light.
This idea of walking on straight paths and turning neither right nor left not only applies to God’s commands but is basic to wisdom.
Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. (Proverbs 26:17)
Walking with God, day-by-day, we are likely to encounter people who need our help. And we should help. But we should also think twice before turning aside to rummage through other peoples’ bins. Not your monkey, not your circus.
There will be times when you would like to walk alongside another, but it just doesn’t work out.
Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)
There will be people who happily walk beside you through all of life. Some will join you for a season, and some will reject you altogether (Matthew 10:14). That’s okay. You stay on the path God has set for you.
And that path is marked by love.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us (Ephesians 5:2)
Where there are strife, bitterness and arrogance, we are to be imitators of God and walk according to the sacrificial love of Christ.
There is great liberty in accepting the path God has put you on. There is great freedom in learning to say no and whistling past distracting and time-wasting detours.
But such whistling also requires courage (Joshua 1:7).
Stick with your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits.
Let critics malign, let enemies accuse… but see to it nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the work God has given you.
He has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed. He has never bidden you defend your character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood (about yourself) which Satan’s or God’s servants may start to peddle or to track down every rumour that threatens your reputation.
If you do these things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord.
Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives;. You may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends, and despised and rejected of men.
But see to it with steadfast determination that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.”1
Do this, says Solomon, and you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. (Proverbs 3:23)
1 Though often attributed to Martin Luther, the author of this wonderful quote remains unknown.