WEEKLY CHRISTIAN BIBLE STUDY AND DEVOTIONAL FROM GOD’S WORD, FOR THE NEWLY SAVED AND MORE SEASONED BELIEVER, AND FOR OTHERS SEEKING TRUTH. OUR PRAYER IS TO ENCOURAGE YOU AND STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IN GOD’S INFINITE MERCY, LOVE AND GRACE, AND IN THE GOSPEL OF THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, THAT ALL WHO SEEK HIM HAVE ETERNAL, ABUNDANT LIFE.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
I’ll Take the High Road, or Low Road?
Photo by Elfea 2009
I dreamed I was in an old tenement section of a city,
trying to find my way home. I was making my way from building to building by
traveling across the rooftops and at times from one window ledge to the next,
even though my path was dangerously narrow. I was afraid I would fall to the
concrete below, where broken glass, garbage, and jagged rocks cluttered the
At one point my path across the window ledge and over the
roof was blocked, and I realized I had no choice but to climb down before I
could resume my journey. I crawled down the side of the wall by placing one
foot after another on protruding bricks, made my way on the pavement to the
next building, then scaled the wall so I could continue on the high road. It
was exhausting, but I was relieved to be on the rooftop again where I felt
Then the scene changed in the dream and I was in the
mountains of Ireland, hiking with a group of friends from our church. We
started out along the path leading up from the road toward the gentle slope of
the hillside. In the distance we could see the craggy peaks of the summit, and
my pace quickened, for I yearned to be up there to get a better view.
But then I heard a voice calling me from below and I
realized that one of my friends, a young woman, had ventured out on an
alternate path from the trail head. It appeared to lead to a short cut and to save
time reaching the summit, but it was actually more treacherous because the
level stretch led straight through a bog.
From past experience I know that getting your boots stuck
in the mud of an Irish bog is a sensation that I imagine is like being in
quicksand. On one occasion I actually had to leave a boot behind and hobble
back to the path in one boot and one sock, because it was the only way to escape
being pulled down further.
The last thing I wanted to do was to leave the exhilarating
trail leading upward and to go back, risking getting stuck in the mud. But now
my friend’s cries sounded desperate; the others had already disappeared around
the bend; and I knew I had no choice. I hurried back down the path, grabbed a
few stray branches to pave our way, and helped her out of the bog and back to
the main road.
As I awoke, I thought about the parallels between the situations
in the dream and detours in our Christian walk. Like other aspects of life, we
never remain in the same place – either we are advancing and making progress,
or we retrogress and get further away from our desired destination.
We long to find our way home, for we are just strangers in a foreign land (Hebrews 11:13; 1
Peter 2:11), and we long to reach the summit where we will see Christ
face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12).
One day we will, if we place our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of
Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6).
When Christ returns for His children at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1
Thessalonians 3:13-18), we will instantly be transformed and receive
our glorified bodies to be as He is. But until then, we undergo the gradual change of sanctification (1
Thessalonians 3:8-13; 4:1-12), becoming more conformed to His
image through prayer, meditation on His Word, and even suffering (Philippians 3:10).
Sometimes what seems like a setback in our Christian walk
may actually be a trial God allows into our life to increase our faith in and
dependence on Him, to conform us into His image through suffering, and to give
us compassion and experience to help others going through similar trials (Romans 8:28).
In the first part of the dream, when I was trying to get
home, the path to my destination was narrow and challenging, as is the Way that
leads to Heaven (Matthew 7:13-14).
When my path across the high ground was blocked, I had to descend downward into
danger, but only for a short time before He provided a way back up again.
Even when we are in a deep pit (Job 33:28-30; Psalm 30:3; Isaiah 38:17), or
passing through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4), we have no cause to fear, for He will never
leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
When obstacles in our path seem insurmountable, He will guide us to the
mountain pass leading safely through them.
The second part of the dream was a reminder that God has
made divine appointments for us since before the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 8:29-30),
although we have the free will to accept or decline them.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), the Pharisee and the Levite ignored the wounded
Samaritan on the side of the road. But no doubt they felt justified in doing
so, because to stop would have taken them away from what they thought was their
higher calling – namely, fulfilling their religious duties and service. By not
stopping they actually showed that their hearts were not with Jesus (Matthew 15:8), Who commanded that
we love one another (John 13:34-35).
Yet Jesus said that the true neighbor in the parable was
the Samaritan who tended to the dying man at great expense and sacrifice to himself,
showing God’s selfless love (John 15:13)
and putting His plan above his own personal agenda (Proverbs 3:5-6). May we listen when He calls us (John 10:27) to help others, even
though at the time we may have different ideas of how we should be serving Him.
May we walk toward
the heavenly places He has appointed for us by walking in love (Ephesians 5:2), in the light (1 John 1:7), and in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16,25) until He comes