In The Principle of the Path, Andy Stanley brings to life the key truth that your current direction in life will determine your destination. This is what Stanley terms as “the principle of the path.” This is an idea that in being a principle happens naturally as a result of our life decisions. This is not something that we have a choice in whether or not it will happen. Our current decisions, whether good or bad, leading toward our goals or straying away from our goals, or reflecting our convictions or denying our convictions, will determine our future destination in life.
This book does an excellent job of driving this simple yet profound point home to the reader. Through Andy Stanley’s usual mix of biblical principles and practical, real life examples, the truth is seen illustrated both with positive effects and negative effects in the lives of real people. The common misconception that “the principle of the path” confronts is that our intention will lead to our destination. The problem that the principle points out is that action determines results not intention.
In the final chapter, Stanley addresses how to deal with the struggles that arise when we realize that our destination which we desired to achieve is unattainable. For a biblical picture of dealing with this reality, Stanley turns to 2 Samuel 15 where David takes his army to face his son Absalom. The passage finds David going to confront his rebellious son who wants to overthrow David. The High Priest at the time, Zadok, prepares the Ark of the Covenant to go with David into battle. This Ark going into battle signifies that the Lord is with the army carrying the Ark and is on that side of the conflict. David approaches Zadok and refuses for the Ark to go with him. David does not want to try to manipulate God to get David’s desires. He wants to by faith trust God for God to do “whatever seems good to Him.” This biblical truth of trusting God to do “whatever seems good to Him” is the driving point that causes our seemingly disappointing moments on the path of life to become moments where our uncertainty in our life’s direction drives us to a deeper trust in God who is certainly there.
The Principle of the Path is an encouraging book that challenges the reader to prepare for the future through the decisions made today. It also stands as a reminder of the faithfulness of God to be there in the midst of the journey of life even if that journey is not going as you had planned for it to.