Own the Road. It Was Paved for You.

Empty highway curving through the red mountains of Sedona, Arizona

Sometimes I get distracted in my service to God. He placed me in some clearly-defined ministries during this phase in my life, but I negotiate plenty of competing priorities and distractions. Many times, the ministries take second place.

I lead 2 Bible study groups, I’m a faith blogger, and I write Bible study guides for small groups. My primary spiritual gift is teaching and these ministries make up the road God paved for me.

Besides the typical daily distractions, even other ministries could steer me away from the path God laid out for me. I can do other things that He may not have reserved for me. I could teach in other ways, like helping out in Sunday School. Or, in lieu of direct teaching, I could support leaders of a variety of care ministries. I could also join the choir and participate in church musicals. I’d really enjoy that.

I can do these other things in self-sacrifice for God and people, but they may not be what God wants me to do. They would be parenthetical – the “other ministries” in my life résumé.

So, I say no to those ministries.

Paul knew how to say no and to focus on the special request God made to him. He went “all-in” for the gospel, and he was successful because he had clarity and focus on his mission.

Paul was “set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). His mission was to preach the good news of Jesus to Jews, Gentiles, and kings (Acts 9:15). But when Jesus commissioned Paul, He didn’t tell Him His plan for his life. He needed to take steps of faith before God revealed it to him.

In the same way, we probably won’t hear God’s plan for our lives by waiting for a sign, and we won’t get it just by reading the Bible. That may sound blasphemous, but what we really need to do is serve God in faith, knowing that He will lead us into the ministries He designed for us. We get the road map while we’re traveling down the road. We know whether to turn or to go straight as we approach the intersection.

Of course, if you’ve traveled the road for a while, you probably know things get cloudy. The crossroads come and go, sometimes at breakneck speed, and sometimes they come when we’d rather just pull over and rest. Opportunities come that may or may not lead us further along God’s path for us.




You may not know God’s plan for your life. That’s okay. Keep reading, but also read about discerning God’s call in my two posts on Why I Write.


Knowing God’s Specific Plan for Our Lives
How God uses coincidence to deliver His specific message to us


Knowing God Will Bless Our Work
Assurance that we can trust God to make His plans prosper





God’s mission became clear to Paul after he took some steps of faith, and he owned the road God paved for him. Here are a couple of lessons we can learn from Paul’s example of owning God’s plan for his life.

1. When we are on God’s mission, it is essential to maintain clarity and focus.

It’s easy to get distracted or sidetracked. It can happen in a moment. Even godly pursuits can distract us. When we endeavor to carry out God’s plan for our lives, it helps to clarify our tasks and focus our efforts.

Paul refined his craft. He not only knew he was to be a missionary, but he was also very clear and intentional with his message (Romans 1:1-6, 1:14-16, 3:20-31, and 7:7-13). He was so clear on the details that he could demonstrate the relationship between the gospel and the law of Moses, a serious bone of contention with the religious leaders.

But there were things that could’ve distracted Paul. He had a deep desire to minister to the Christians in Rome. He also knew he would be in life-threatening situations, but here’s what he said about that:

I am ready not only to be bound,
but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 21:13b 

He was focused on his mission to preach the gospel at the expense of enjoying fellowship with Christians in Rome (Romans 1:11-14), at the expense of his civil freedom, at the expense of his physical comfort and well-being (Acts 9:16), and at the expense of his own life. That’s how critical his mission was to him (Romans 1:16).

But when we encounter difficulties, or sheer exhaustion, we may just want to stop. There are plenty of activities we’d rather enjoy. We should take breaks sometimes, but service also has a way of energizing us to continue. It energized Paul.

2. When we are on God’s mission, it is more natural to press on than it is to pursue our own delights.

Paul longed to visit the Romans, but he was too busy doing God’s work. The reality that some people had not yet heard the gospel compelled Paul to forego his own wishes and reach the people God placed immediately in his path (Romans 15:22-23).

Paul pressed on (Philippians3:12-14). He didn’t look back. He worked hard. He took bigger steps with great yearning to fill the void in every heart with the gospel. He did this not with super-human fortitude. He did it in weakness. He was able to press on and endure extreme difficulty because when he was weak in his humanness, he was strong in God’s power, capability, and sufficiency (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Paul wrote that those who are mature in their faith should imitate him. He urged us to think of ourselves as people on God’s mission, and to follow the example of those who serve Him the way Paul did (Philippians 3:15-17).

So, what are those next steps God wants us to take?

Let’s walk those steps in faith, hone our craft, and continue on our roads, even when they get uncomfortable – maybe dangerous, at times.

Share about your next steps in the comments. I’d love to hear about what God is asking you to do, and I’d be happy to pray for you.

Now to him who is able to establish you
in accordance with my gospel…
to the only wise God
be glory forever
through Jesus Christ!

Romans 16:25-27


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  1. Great post Stephen and so true. We must keep our ministry as our main focus. And if God changes our ministry purpose then we must always follow Him. If we try to hold too tight to our ministry then we risk making it ours and not God’s. Thanks

    1. Yes, good point, Yvonne. We go all in for ministry, and continually seek God His direction so we can follow when He changes our path. The ministry is God's not ours. When we understand that, we know that God brings the people and the fruit, along with the difficulties, and the difficulties are not failures.

  2. I pray I will seek God's guidance and wisdom for my next steps. :-)

    1. I'm right there with you, Melissa. Next steps, next stops.

  3. So very true, Stephen! He has a special road just for me. It's a wonderful honor to see His next steps for me laid out.

    1. Yes, very special, Jessica. A very special road for each of us, and it's exciting when we follow His lead. God bless you on your journey.

  4. Wise words - I commented on the post. Those distractions often appear good, but they lead me away from God's best!

    1. Yes, they do, and it is often hard to discern if they are distractions from God's plan for us, or if they are inserted by God to accomplish His grander plan. Thank you for commenting on the post. I will see your comment after it is approved.


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