May 04, 2020
Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. (Psalm 119:133)
Most men and women have set their course. Unaware or uninterested in God’s Word, they walk in a common path, oblivious to its sure destination. They are unmindful, perhaps, that there are three voices that are loud and demanding and pulling them along this road: the world (with all its philosophies and ideas), the flesh (our humanity apart from God with its inherent selfishness and weakness), and the Devil (who is a liar and the father of all lies). They have established their steps in a road that has well-worn ruts. And it is a broad road, filled with many travelers, that heads to a deadly end.
The Psalmist wants something different. He has seen the course and end of those who do not acknowledge God. He longs for a different road and cries out for a life-long walk in the right direction.
It is not enough for him to step momentarily on the path. He wants to continue there. He knows he needs sustaining help, so he cries to the Creator of the path and the Creator of his own feet and asks God to establish his footsteps in the right direction … a path made plain in the Scriptures.
Simply put, he wants to be a man who understands his weakness, love’s God and what God says, and wants to consistently walk God’s path. The Apostle Paul would later give the similar instruction with similar results.
Walk by the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
Every road leads to a destination. If you want to go to your workplace, you take the road there. If you are longing for home after a tiring day, you don’t take a path in the opposite direction. The Psalmist knows there is a result of this prayerfully determined direction. If he can become established in the pathway of God’s Word and follow the promptings and empowering of His Spirit, it will lead him away from sin’s domination. He will be headed in an entirely different course and be liberated from sin.
Sin will rule us, if we let it. Think of our sins: anger, bitterness, unforgiveness; drunkenness, addiction, gluttony; gossip, slander, abusive speech; lust and immorality; prayerlessness and rebellion against God … and the list goes on. The tragedy of sin is not merely that it directs us, it dominates us.
Those who possess Christ do not have to live this way. They are liberated from sin’s rule because Christ now lives in them giving them a greater power and a completely different path.
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18)
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)
Now, as a follower of Christ, they can live from the inside out, listening to God’s Word and yielding to the Spirit’s control. As they walk by the Spirit (their footsteps established in His Word and direction) they “will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” They cannot, for it is impossible to walk in two diametrically opposed directions at once. A long obedience in this direction also builds a path with well-worn ruts. It becomes familiar as they walk with other followers and with the great Trailblazer Himself. It is a joyous path that leads to ever-increasing life, and life eternal.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
You can ignore Gods Word and resist God’s Spirit control in your life. But be assured of this: you have chosen a deadly path and you will find yourself established on that road. But you can choose to follow Christ. You can love His Word and gladly yield to His Spirit. The result over time is a life established on the right path. And soon you will find yourself joyously running on this path with the wind at your back, for you will be free!
Father, thank You that You have provided a different way, a glorious path. Thank You that those who follow you are no longer in bondage, but liberated from sin’s dominion. Lord, establish my footsteps in Your Word. Help me walk by the Spirit’s empowering and direction today. Let me walk in the freedom You have bought for me with Your own life.
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It is said of Martin Luther that he dreamed he was transported to heaven and there noticed thousands of boxes with his name on them. When he asked the angel what they were, the angel replied, “These are answers to prayers that have never been asked.”
God has much more for us. He reminds us that “we have not because we ask not” (James 4:2).