Come, pluck up, heart; let's neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe."
-John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress
I have been faithfully walking with Jesus for almost twenty years now and one thing that I know more than anything else is that He is not a genie God. Man somedays I wish He was. He is not into 'fix it and forget it'- wave my magic wand over it- let me make life easy for you kind of God. But He is a master craftsman. He can use anything, good or bad, to shape our lives into something beautiful. He is a genius at layering the insignificant moments of our everyday lives so that when we look back over the years- we can't help but glorify Him at what He has done. He layers His words in our hearts, He layers encounters with His presence; moments that, when added together, can change how we see life and how we 'do' life.
Over the last year and a half, God has been 'layering' moments in my life with a common theme. STAY THE PATH. And over this last year, His words and others have changed the way I look at my life. It has taken out the greatest mystery known to man, "What am I here for?" and replaced it with purpose and steadfastness that I can't shake if I tried to.
Did you know that we are not on the earth to only get saved? Did you know that God wants more for you than that? See, the church is really good at the salvation thing.... we like messages that are about getting set free, healed and walking in victory. We all know those verses that get a loud response- like- "Greater is He that is in me..." I bet you can finish it. Victory is great. Healing is great. But what if that is just the small piece of the puzzle. We love to focus on our own life but what does God need from me? Do you really thinks He heals you for you to give no response back? I believe many of us are taught this. I grew up this way- I was never taught the other side. The bigger picture. The "Why" behind the "What". The other side is, "God has a job for us to do." We are all on a path and that climb wont always be easy- in fact, sometimes it is really hard. But my job is to keep showing up and standing strong. To keep moving and not get distracted. To not get lost in offense or bitterness. To not get lost in accolade or criticism. I believe that if we allow it, God saves us, frees us, heals us, plants our feet on the path and says, "Now let the adventure begin."
When you stay the path, blessing come. Increase is directly connected to my obedience. There is something in turning up, time after time after time. There is something in leaning in and coming into His presence with expectation in my heart. Sometimes staying the path means staying at your post. Continuing to do the last thing He told you to do. When you feel like it and when you don't. After its lost its newness and shininess. After your friends quit and said it was boring- you remain. There is power in remaining. Stay your post. Stay alert. Lean in and pull our everything you can from what He has given you. God gives us opportunitites. What we do with that opportunity is our gift to Him. Show yourself faithful. Dig in. Do the work. Stay your post.
Sometimes staying the path means digging in deeper. What was required of me last year is not what is going to get me where I want to be this year. John 15 talks about allowing yourself to be 'pruned.' Pruning hurts. It isn't fun- it requires something from you. Time. New habits. Self-Discipline. Refocus. But if I want to continue down my path- sometimes I have to shake off extra weight I am carrying. Old relationships that aren't producing life anymore; offense that I didn't want to admit to; my late night eating habits; it is amazing what Jesus will show you when you ask Him to. But allow Him to prune your heart. New growth always comes from being pruned first.
And lastly, staying the path means trusting the path. Sounds simple enough but I have found this to be my most challenging task. Trust is a funny thing. Every relationship we have has a trust-line. And we are all in as long as we don't cross the line. We tell Jesus we will do 'anything' until He asks you to put your house up for sale.... or give that large offering that you have felt nagging at your heart... or move your kids to another school... Isn't it funny how we respond to Him. Like He has ever let us down? Craig Groeschel said, "You can have growth or you can have control. You can't have both." Trust the path He has put your feet on knowing He always has our best interest at heart.
"Then the Lord said to Abram, "Know for certain..."
Know for certain the path He has you on is the right path. Know for certain that the promise He made to you will be fulfilled. Calm your anxious heart and remind it who your God is. He never backs down. He never quits. He is relentless in His pursuit for you. He thinks you are worth it. Every season. Every moment. Every time. And He is connecting the dots across the earth for you- just keep putting one foot in front of the other.