November 20, 2012
One of the saddest things I see in real life or on TV is when a small kid just realizes he is lost. Irst you see the initial joy and excitement on his face as he is exploring fresh territory with new found independence. Then disorientation and disconnection sets in. Some children keep that distress in, anticipating that their parent is right around the corner; others let loose a fearful shriek that lets everyone around know they are lost. Being lost is such a fearful and disorienting struggle.
But you see, even though we have a home and parents, we are born lost, spiritually lost, in a terrible place … a state of insecurity, inadequacy, and isolation. We long to be in a different place … one of peace, love, joy, security, and intimacy. To arrive at this secure destination, we need to go on an excursion. In today’s scripture reading, God tells us that He goes before us. God’s imagery of “going before” clearly lets us know that He desires us to go on a journey … with Him as our guide and leader … He even calls us by our name.
Even before we get started on our exciting adventure, we have problems. Unfortunately, we forget to let God prepare and guide us. All the elements of our strategy are so out of whack. We make many poor choices regarding important elements of the trip. The map we use to chart our journey and avoid obstacles is our own random one, which worsens our plight. We use the world’s distorted strategy. Our destination is a self-centered goal. We demand to be our own guides, thinking we can see clearly and know the future.
Instead, we need to use the Bible’s teachings as both our map and our strategy. Allow all-powerful and all-knowing God to be your guide. Choose the mind of Christ as your destination. The journey is for your mind, heart, and Spirit. The pot of gold at the end of the journey is the fruit of the Spirit that only comes as the result of a close relationship with God! It all happens through Godly decision-making. Our curriculum is designed just for this purpose.
Christian life is a dangerous pilgrimage to the Promised Land … Satan is always lurking. So, we need the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit … the power and comfort of prayer … and the protection and counter attack of the armor of God. All these start with the decisions you make, right now. This is why I continually draw your attention to your decisions, because that is your divine weapon and spiritual act of worship, but that is for another Stepping Stones.
Today, imagine yourself standing at a fork in the road. One option looks enticing but you are your own guide. The other is the journey your Lord invites you to take. Believing He is your ultimate destination, and having faith He will come alongside you, take an intentional step on the next Stepping Stone of God’s path. Listen to His guidance and resist Satan’s deceptive voice. If you don’t, the fruit of the flesh will detour you into anxiety, fear, loneliness, frustration, agitation, and impulsivity. The fork you take is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I thank You for going before me. What a gift! I like to have a map when I travel, to know exactly where I am going, and how long it will take me to arrive. When I look at the road ahead that You call me to travel with You, all I see is a bend where the road disappears. Help me, Father, to keep my eyes on You, knowing that You are my map and guide. Thank You for not forgetting about me when I do take the wrong fork in the road. Thank You for Your constant willingness to take my hand and guide me back to Your path. Help me to encourage others to follow You on this journey. I pray in the name of the One who died so I might be free to travel Your path, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, I am the God of Israel. Isaiah 45:2-3
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalms 119:105