September 9, 2016
Going Around the Same Old Mountain
So do not be foolish with your lives. But learn what the Lord wants you to do (Ephesians 5:17, ICB).
Friend to Friend
There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience - and that is not learning from experience. Life is a journey, not a destination. It is through that journey that we are born, broken, changed and shaped.
Life is God’s chosen classroom in which He teaches His children how to love and live out His truth. One of the first and most vital truths we need to learn in our walk with God is obedience.
Truth does not change. We must change in response to the truth. A learned truth is an applied truth, and when we apply truth, we are practicing obedience. When we don’t learn from our wrong choices, we are doomed to make the same mistakes again, falling back into disobedience. It is like going around the same old mountain again and again.
My husband Dan served as Youth Pastor for many years in South Florida. Each summer we took the youth on a mission trip to the mountains of North Carolina where they conducted youth rallies in parks, taught back yard Bible Clubs, and held worship services in local churches. Everyone worked hard, but each afternoon was free time.
We all piled into a rickety old school bus and headed for the mountains to play. Our favorite mountain activity was tubing. One year a pastor told us about a tubing company tucked up in the mountains around Lake Lure, assuring us that the crowds were small, the price was right, and the ride was incredible. Off we went!
We soon discovered why it was such a great deal. You could not find the place!
We got so completely lost – several times. After two hours of searching, we finally found the tubing company and had a great, but very short ride. As we headed back to our hotel, one of the counselors wisely suggested that we write down the directions so that we would have them next year. Great idea!
The next summer, everyone was excited about tubing at our new spot – until we discovered that no one had actually written down the directions – and once again, we got lost, wasting an hour of valuable tubing time. I took matters in hand, grabbed a piece of paper, and wrote down detailed directions.
The following summer, we were half way to Lake Lure and the mapped out tubing spot when we discovered that we had indeed documented the directions, but we had left them at the hotel. Once again, we went around that same old mountain, wasting time and energy until we found the tubing place. I looked at Dan and said, “We must be slow learners.”
I often wonder if our Father ever looks at the way we live and wonders, “Why are they so slow to learn and practice my truth?”
In order to learn the ways of God we have to know the truth of God. Saturating our lives with Scripture is essential to finding and doing God’s will. The Bible is the road map, the blue print, and the ultimate plan for our journey.
To walk in obedience to God, we must not only have the right directions for today, but we must also go back and destroy those paths of yesterday that once led us in the wrong direction.
Eliminating wrong choices makes the right choices much easier to handle. Some of those old paths are familiar and may be hard to uproot. A friendship may have to be ended. A behavior pattern may have to be changed. A habit may have to be eliminated.
But if it leads to sin, if it makes it easier to sin, or if it entices or tempts you to sin, run from it! Don’t go around that same old mountain of wrong choices again. Learn the lesson and choose obedience.
Father, I am so tired of going around the same old mountains of defeat and failure in my life. I am afraid of being lost and having no direction. Right now, I choose Your ways. Please lead me. Help me see and turn from anyone or anything that would keep me from learning and obeying Your truth.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Make a commitment to learn whatever lessons God has for you today. Right now, choose obedience and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the discernment and power to make the right choices.
Ask God for the wisdom to identify the “old” ways and the strength to turn from anyone or anything that makes it easy to disobey the new ways.
What “new” ways do you need to put in the place of the old ways?
What part does the Holy Spirit and the Word of God play in your ability to be obedient?
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