Are you on the way to heaven? How is your journey going? Do you get stuck in the mud a lot? Are you able to stay out of the ditches? You know, this is critically important. For every mile of the road to heaven, there are two miles of ditches. Lots of opportunities to get off the road to heaven. How can we get it right? How can we keep on advancing on the Christian pilgrimage?
First of all, we need to know of the ditches and how they lure pilgrims off the road. Second of all, we need to know how to stay in the middle and advance on the road to heaven.
One ditch is called Self-empowerment or Duty. The lure here is to be independent of God, to be perfect on our own. Then we don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work in and through us as and we insist on laboring on our own power.
Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? (Gal.3:2-3, NLT,*)
The other ditch is called Selfishness or Indulgence. Then we misuse grace. We think that if everything is forgiven, it does not matter what we do. So we indulge ourselves as much as we can. We are self-centered, not God-centered and off the road we go.
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. (Gal.5:13, MSG,*)
When you realize you need help to get you out of a ditch, just ask. God is ready to help you at any given moment. Learn from your experiences and be aware of the ditches. Whenever you start heading towards either ditch, correct the course. We are not meant to live on our own. We are meant to live with God, in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit.
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? (Gal 5:16-18, MSG,*)
The only way to advance on the road to heaven is by abiding in Christ and letting the Holy Spirit work in and through us. We need to lean on God and not on our own understanding. But when we do…what happens? God brings gifts into our lives. And then our lives are exactly what we have dreamed them to be from the get-go.
If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit ]we have our life in God, let us go forward [walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] (Gal 5:25, AMP, emphasis added*)
Keep us out of the ditches!
Enable us to follow Christ closely.
Fill us to the brim with the Holy Spirit!
Thank you for seeing us safely home to you.
Empower us to help fellow pilgrims on the way.
In Jesus’ name, Amen
Q4U: Do you have hard time of keeping out of the ditches? What has helped you to keep the right course?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you stay of the ditches by the power of the Holy Spirit!
* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.]
Image courtesy of Steve Smith, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Sharing His Beauty, Unforced Rhythms, Playdates with God, and counting blessings with Ann Voskamp: #1110 God provides everything we need to stay out of the ditches.
I always appreciate if you help sharing the blog posts with your friends & followers. So that everyone might know the love of God, receive the grace of Christ, and live in the presence of the Holy Spirit! Thank you! Be blessed now and forever!