If you have ever done any sort of hiking, you have surely found it is a great deal easier to descend a mountain on a wide path than traverse a mountain on a narrow ledge.  The wide path takes little faith, requires minimal skill and takes little effort.  On the other hand, the narrow ledge requires precise calculated steps, utmost attention and trust in knowing where you're headed and who is leading you.

A couple of years ago, a group of friends and I embarked on what we thought would be a relatively short (and easy) hike up Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.  Battling muscle cramps, heat exhaustion and dehydration, eight hours, thousands of feet of elevation change and miles of mountain trails later, three of us stood on top of the granite rock.

We could have found an easier hike, changed our goal or given up altogether, but we wouldn't have had the sense of accomplishment, the mutual bond having completed it together or the amazing experience (and pictures) of looking down from above.

Our mountain-top (and God-ordained) experiences don't usually come from living (and settling) in the valleys.  They are achieved by stepping out of our comfort zones, away from what everyone else is doing, and walking the narrow path.  Our growth occurs when we push ourselves beyond what we think we are capable of and closer to what God made us to be.

We climbed mountains because of what we bring down, mainly an experience of what we're made of—strength, perseverance, determination and honesty (David W. Pierce, Don't Let Me Go:  What My Daughter Taught Me about the Journey Every Parent Must Make).

God never promised life would be easy, especially for believers.  It is an everyday battle of stretching ourselves, (sometimes) placing ourselves in difficult positions, making the right choices and doing the right thing.  As Christians we should be living differently and uniquely from the rest of the world—not following their lead and going along with the crowd.  That difference should be exhibited in our lives.

How?

  • By choosing not to do what everyone else is just because it's the "cool" or popular thing to do
  • By making a decision to do the right thing in the workplace even though everyone else is overlooking or going along with it
  • By choosing to follow God's direction for your life instead of pursuing the love of fame, money and wealth
  • By honoring God and your commitments in relationships instead of "the norm"
  • By allowing the Spirit to lead instead of doing what is "expected"
  • By committing everything you do to the Lord

We are blessed as followers of Jesus to have a body of believers who can surround and lift us up when we can't stand, guide us when we have lost our way and instruct us in how to live a righteous life.  It is invaluable to have people who walk beside you on your journey.

However, regardless of how many godly and well-meaning friends, family members and wise counselors we may have around us, ultimately, we have to make our own choices and decisions (and mistakes), learn our own lessons, walk our own path and account for our own actions.

We can make every effort to look, act, and be like someone else, nevertheless we will never be the same person nor live the life they live.  We were each designed, formed and created uniquely for a specific purpose only we can fill.

Find your own unique purpose on your specific path that leads to the gates of heaven.

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men (Proverbs 4:14).

 

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel.  An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback?  Send your comments and questions to CYdmg@yahoo.com. 

**This article first published on May 20, 2010.