Today, we are living in very exciting times. With the advancement in technology and electronics, man has reached the point where we feel that soon we will be able to conquer the stars. To some that thought is exciting while on the other hand, is scaring others. It is all a matter of conception. Some see a glass half full, while others see it half empty, some always feel like singing and others mostly feel like weeping. Some can always see the sun shining, whereas others always are afraid that a storm is brewing. In these instances, we have positive versus negative. These feelings or outlooks are governed by one thing and one thing only, namely the strength and depth of our faith!
If the mindset is in the right direction, we will reach our destination
When we are born to this life, according to what the Bible tells us, the paths that we will travel are foreknown by God (Rom. 8:29, 11:2), and dependent on our own free will, thus choices we make. God will give us every opportunity, but it is up to every individual to choose the right path. The road we travel, even when one chooses to walk in the way of the Lord, will not always be even ground, there will be many roadblocks and brambles along the way, but if the mindset is in the right direction, we will reach our destination, even if we stumble once in awhile and scrape our knees on the rocks that block our way. Man has an innate need to worship, some worship deified humans, others will worship the Sun, Moon or stars, animals, or carved, or molten, images, but it is only the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who worship the Only Living God, and it is only them that at times can be severely challenged in their faith. Satan, the adversary never rests.
If we look at a topographical map of North America we will see that if we want to go from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, somewhere on that journey we will run into some formidable mountains. Now if we want to get to the other side of those mountains, we either have to skirt their base and go around them, if possible, or cross over the tops of said mountains. It is the same in our walk through life, and be assured, somewhere along life’s journey we will find such a hurdle to cross. Now, the question is, how will we respond to such a challenge? Will we face the problem resolutely and with confidence or will we shy away from such struggles and follow the easy way out? Only the depth and strength of our faith will determine how deep we will be able to reach to obtain our ultimate goal, with the help of our Lord. Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest …. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. (Matt. 11:28,30).
At this point I would like to take you, our readers, on a hypothetical life’s journey and I will address it in the first person, so bear with me please.
I was still a young man when I was first introduced to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I came out of a family and an environment that did not hold with church going and or Bible reading. As a matter of fact, we had no Bible in our house when I was growing up, and I had thus never read one or had the need to do so. It was not until I was in my late teens that I became a friend and a buddy of a young man of about the same age, who was of a church-going background, that I was introduced to the Word of God. I would go to church with him on Sunday morning and then we would spend the rest of the day doing whatever took our fancy. But it was because of this going to church with him that I became acquainted with other young folk of like persuasion, including a girl, who would later become my wife, and thus started my walk with the Lord. I was instructed in the basic Bible principals and church doctrine, I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I was baptized and became a member of the church, and so started my journey.
At first all was well. I was content with my relationship with the Lord, not much was required of me, I went to church, I said my prayers, but although I did not realize it at first, I was not growing in faith, I was fed the milk and I became stagnant. It was my first stumbling block. The mainstream church was not feeding my spiritual needs. I had questions, but they could not answer them to my satisfaction, so like millions of others I remained in the spiritual doldrums. In life we all walk a different path, and how we gain spiritual strength and build our faith is immaterial at this point, but however strong we grow in our faith, is dependent on how diligent we search for the truth that is hidden in plain sight in the Holy Writ. The Bible teaches us that there will be times of gladness and times of sorrow, times of plenty and times of want, so no matter how strong or how weak we may be, sooner or later we will all have to face that obstacle, that mountain of decision. It will be there, whether through marital problems, financial difficulties or the loss of loved ones, etc. Whatever the case may be, we will come face to face with a challenge that will determine how far our faith will carry us through.
At the base of this mountain of decision is a beautiful paved road that skirts the mountain, and on it are many, many people who after one look, decided it is too difficult and will go around it rather than straight ahead. The problem is that these folk will forever go around in circles and never come to a destination. For those willing, there are many trails that lead upwards and I took one of them and I could see others on similar trails, with varying obstacles, climbing steadily upward. After some time, I came to a break in the mountainside, a beautiful valley where I could rest for awhile, but that valley was full of people, so I asked who all those folks were and was told that some, just like me, were just resting up, but that the majority had decided that this was as far as they were willing and able to go.
This scenario was repeated several times as I made my way upward until I reached the summit of Mt. Decision. Looking back along the trail I had come, I knew that the Lord had been with me the whole way, for there were two sets of footprints all along the way. I know that He did promise to never leave me or forsake me. (Heb. 3:5) When I reached that summit I came unto a vast plateau, on which was a large multitude, both young and old, who over time had made the same journey as I had and all were waiting for the Lord’s coming. In my mind’s eye I could see across a vast gulf into the Heavenly Realm and I beheld a magnificent beautiful land. Trees that bore fruit all year long, and in the midst of it all, I saw a throne, and He who was sitting on that throne shone with such brilliant light that I could not look upon it for its brightness. From that throne flowed a river, the river of the water of Life (Rev. 22:1), and beside the first throne was another like it on which I saw sitting the Son of Man. He talked to me and said, tarry where ye are and wait for yet a little while, I come quickly and will bring my reward with me, for you have overcome the world.
This is the end of our imaginary journey. It is what every true believer strives for in the hope of the everlasting life that the Lord promises to all that overcome. It is not an easy journey, but with the Lord’s guidance we can do most anything. We must strive for perfection and overcome the world.
This short essay is meant to show that by faith we can all overcome all obstacles and the world. God Bless you all! Amen!