One of the great blessings of life is that we have the freedom to choose our own path. Because there are so many different kinds of paths to follow, this freedom may feel overwhelming at times. Which path do I choose? What path will lead me to the best result throughout my life? How do I choose?

Because life on earth is precious, God doesn't want us to mess it up by following a wrong path. Keep in mind that He provides the path and guideposts along the way, but he doesn't force us to choose them. That's up to us. Here are a few tips to guide you to the path God has provided for you.

1. Read His word

We've all heard the statement, "When all else fails, read the instructions." It's smart to read the instructions first, but sometimes it takes a little failing before we get the point. The Holy Scriptures are filled with ways that will keep you on God's path. Those are His instructions. Keep the Ten Commandments firmly in your mind, and do your best to live them. Exodus 20. They are filled with ways to stay on the path God designed for you. People who read their scriptures daily find hidden treasures that will guide them to their greatest purpose in life.

2. Decide what your ultimate goal in life is

It's hard to find a path when you don't know where you're going or what you want to ultimately achieve. Ask yourself, "What is my end goal?" If you were playing football and you had no idea where the end zone was, you would have no direction as to which way to run. So it is with life. Picture your "end zone," and run in that direction. Here are a few suggestions to help you discover your end zone.

Ask yourself what you really want out of life.

List those wants, such as feeling God's spirit with you, having a happy family, enjoying your career, helping others and improving your talents.

Determine which of these wants are the most important.

Make a plan to achieve them.

Begin today to live the plan.

3. Make short-term goals that lead to your end zone

Think back to the football player. It takes knowing the game, then practicing. It takes knowing where to throw the ball and how far to run before you reach a first down. It takes getting up when tackled and starting again. It takes working with others, so team effort brings you closer to your goal.

In other words, be willing to do the steps that will lead to your end zone. These might include:

Seeking the counsel of others who may be able to help you.

Earning a college education or learn a trade - it's never too late.

Discovering ways to be a more loving spouse.

Be a more understanding and caring parent - be there for your kids.

Be kind, and help others along your way.

4. Develop your natural talents

They were given to you for a divine purpose. You may not think you have any, but you do. They can range from musical to artistic, engineering to nursing, writing to athletics, teaching to nurturing others, caring for the less fortunate, and on it goes. Discover yours and develop them. Be willing to work on making them better and more useful. The highly successful author Stephen King said, "What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." Lou Holtz magnified that when he said, "Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it."

Get on your knees and ask your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can even imagine, to help you to know what your talents are and how to use them for His good. You will be surprised what happens as you start working on your abilities. When you use these talents in harmony with His teachings, you can't go wrong.

4. Pray for God's help in making your plan be in accord with His plan

The Rev. Dr. Brooks Ramsey said, "Through prayer and meditation, we have access into the divine presence that provides guidance and inspiration. God is never so pleased as when we stand up and make a moral decision that reflects our desire to live at the highest and most useful level attainable."

5. Trust in Him

Here is one of the most significant passages of scripture to help you along the path God has prepared for you. It is from the Bible, Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

We are free to choose our path, but to attain the greatest happiness and fulfillment in this life we will include God in the choosing. That is when we can be certain we are on the right path.

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