A few weeks ago in this space, I wrote about spiritual thirst and how important it is to quench this thirst by often visiting God’s word. That article was prompted by my experience in the exercise routine of walking up Taylor Mountain. These walks have been very productive both physically and spiritually as I use the time to think on sermons and pray (yes, you can walk and pray at the same time—no extra coordination required). This past week I developed a sermon outline while walking and had nothing to write on, so I used my iPhone to dictate the points. Passersby must have been a little stunned to hear Exaltation! Encouragement! Equality! as I walked by.
Here is one of the thoughts that came to me on one of the trips last week. At Taylor Mountain, there are well-marked trails that are mapped and traveled by most. I have my own section I walk regularly because I know how long it will take, how difficult it will be, how many miles it covers, and how many calories it will burn. I stick to this section 90% of the time.
I noticed every time on every trip I pass a path off to the right that disappears into the trees. I often wondered where it went but I never took time to explore it. I just kept passing it over and over and kept on walking where I was supposed to. Finally, I decided I had to satisfy my curiosity. I took off down the trail with the lizards and ticks over a creek and up a rocky incline until it leveled off in a clearing. The path was well-worn and then abruptly stopped. There was no trace of it beyond that point.
It turns out the path was well-worn because the many people that traveled that way found out there was no gorgeous view like walking the right path. The path was beaten down because every person made an about face and traveled back the way they came. It occurred to me that the marked trail is the one you are supposed to follow and if you get off it you end up nowhere. This is much like the Christian life. God has the right way for your life marked out clearly in His word. There is a path that wastes no time, produces the right results, and leads straight to the proper destination.
We too easily give into the temptation to that which appears to be a more appealing path and we take a different direction only to find out it leads nowhere. Worse yet, if I had been in a wilderness area, this kind of foray could have led to bewilderment and a nasty fall from a cliff. Fortunately, it is hard to get lost on Taylor Mountain. Not so in life when you leave God’s path. When you are off His trail, there is no guidance. It’s a difficult walk and each step leads you farther and farther away from the one who can help.
The moral of this story is not to yield to the temptation of the new and exciting. The old path is good so don’t pick a new church, don’t pursue a new doctrine, don’t take a new job, don’t get with a new crowd unless you have evaluated each step to see if it is the right way. The reality is that you might be on the wrong path right now. You thought it was right but your faith is weak, your growth is stunted, and your contentment is suffering because you have been going the wrong way far too long.
The goal of Berean is to lead you in God’s path. We stay in God’s word to point you to the spiritual markers that give assurance of the right way. We promise every step will be backed by the scriptures—and with them, you will always end in the beautiful somewhere of God’s glory.
Pastor V. Mark Smith