I live in the desert and rarely see snow at my house, but the storms of the past few weeks reminded me of growing up in the Midwest. Some winters brought deep snow. While it’s nice to stay inside and admire the beauty through a window, that wasn’t an option. We had animals to care for on our farm. We had school to attend. We had places we needed to go that required wading through deep snow.
Walking through a foot or two of fresh snow can be tiring and difficult, especially if your little legs sink deep with every step. Once the paths to the barn were tramped down, getting there was easier, but I remember how nice it was to follow my dad after a snowfall. I would step in his footprints where he’d already tramped the powder down. Walking behind him and following those steps proved so much easier than plowing through on my own.
Sometimes in life, we walk through the proverbial footsteps of those who have gone before us. Pioneers who marked the way with their tenacity, bravery, research, and more. Those footsteps make it easier for us to do the tasks we need to do. For instance, finding a vaccine for Covid 19 would not have happened so fast without all the medical milestones laid out before us.
As Christians, it is nice to know we are not trailbreakers struggling through on our own. We have a precedence to follow. We have guidance. We have footsteps that lead the way.
“Yes, the ʟᴏʀᴅ will give what is good; And our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps our pathway.” Psalm 85:12-13 (NKJV)
Don’t you love that God is the groundbreaker for us. That our path is easier because He had marked the way and left us footsteps to follow. Yes, there are times we aren’t positive of the direction He wants us to take and we have to step out in faith, but God is always aware and He guides our choice.
So, where do those footsteps lead? How do we know we’re following in God’s pathway? How do we know we aren’t following the wrong course?
Let’s explore three ways to tell. There are many more, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll look at these three.
LOVE: “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” 1 Jn. 4:16 (NKJV)
If we are following God’s footsteps we will love. God is love and we are to be like Him. In fact, Jesus says this:”…“The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mk. 12:29-31 (NKJV)
What a great check for us to run. Are we loving God with everything thing we are? Our heart? Our soul? Our mind? Our strength? Are we putting Him above all else in our lives? And, are we loving others as we love ourselves? As we take care to make sure our needs are met? If the answer is no, then we need to check whose footsteps we are following.
“Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” Psalm 25:8-10 (NKJV)
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth. God is truth. If we are not living in the truth and telling the truth with the conversation and actions of our lives, then we are not walking on the path God has for us. God doesn’t lie and if we allow lies in our life we are giving entrance to the devil. (Jn. 8:44-46) Truth isn’t always easy, but is always a must.
ETERNITY: God is eternal. He was there before the creation of the world and will be there forever. When we follow in His footsteps, walking in love and in truth, we also have the promise of eternity with Him.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ro. 6:23 (NKJV)
This concept is a difficult one for those of us living in an instant society where long term seems farfetched. But, the truth is eternity with God is what we were made for, part of the plan He has for us. It’s what God wants for us and we are following Him toward that goal.
While there are many more ways to tell we are following God’s footsteps: peace, protection, grace, comfort, to name a few, these three give us the idea. Just like I followed my father’s footsteps in the snow, we must strive to follow God where He leads us. The benefits to doing so lead to love, truth, and eternity.