This morning I took Gavin to a camp at our local Nature center. After we dropped him off, Abba, Cruz and I strolled through the Children’s Garden there. We were walking along and Abba started veering off. I told her, “You have to stay on the path, honey.” She questioned, as most 3 year olds do, “Why?” “Because there are dangers off the path”, I replied. “Why?” “Because they marked out the path before us so that we would be safe and enjoy our journey through the garden.” Read that again. As those words came out of my mouth, I literally stopped walking and said out loud, ” Oh, my goodness! That is so what God has done for us!” God has already marked out the path before us so that we can be safe from sin and enjoy our journey through life! I got it!! He has already determined what is “safe” and what is not. He has clearly marked out His way, His path for us. Think about it. Would you rather wander through an unmarked forest not knowing which way to go, how to get out or where the dangers are? Or rather, be led along a path in that same forest that still allows you to enjoy the surroundings and all the forest has to offer but not get bitten by any rattlesnakes? Now, I know that some of you may think, “I’d rather forge my own path. That is way more fun!” I’m not making a case for ignoring the beauty around us and only moving in one direction and missing out on life. I’m not talking about throwing out exploration and adventure. Not at all. I believe God is the ultimate explorer and adventurer. He longs for us to join Him on His adventure and exploration through this life. What hit me this morning is that God has marked out a path for all of us. It begins with us and ends with Christ. It has a purpose. It doesn’t take you around the forest. It leads you straight into the middle of it, so that you can enjoy and appreciate ALL it has to offer without the bite of the enemy. God’s path for us is very clear. He has even written it down for us so we never have to wonder what it is!
Psalm 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
Often times, we think exploring on our own will be easier, bring us more enjoyment, and way more fun. We tend to forget that, just like the nature center workers, God has already walked the path before us. He knows the reasons why we need to stick to His path and stay clear of what we do not know. There are just some things that are better left unknown. Just like Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:5 when the serpent told her,
“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan made Eve aware that there was something she didn’t know. That the knowledge she had was limited. He tempted her. He placed a niggling thought in her head. There was more than what she was experiencing. She needed to find out what it was. God was holding out on her. There was more to the story. She became discontent and desired something more than what God had already abundantly provided for her. Discontentment – a longing for something better than the present situation – can lead us to sin. God had given Eve everything in abundance. But she began to desire the one thing she was advised to stay away from. Instead of being grateful and content with the life God had given her, she chose to disobey the God whom she had always known to protect her and provide for her. Now, this is where FAITH comes in. God gave Eve, and all of us, the gift of curiosity and creativity. An inborn desire to learn and to acquire knowledge. We want to learn about life and experience it in every way. And God has given us freedom in this to mature and become all he has created us to be! And yet, he has placed boundaries FOR OUR OWN GOOD. He has clearly given us a path, a spiritual path, a kingdom path that He has marked out before us so that we can be free to grow up without becoming entangled in the dangers of life, the sin that so easily ensnares us and leads us off this path. Worse yet, into a life completely full of sin that blinds us from even recognizing the path in the first place. NO, we have to TRUST Him that, in our curiosity, His “No” is for our best. We are to TRUST God that He has already given us everything for our good and enjoyment.
1 Tim 6:17-19, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
He has marked the path out for us FOR OUR OWN GOOD and for our ENJOYMENT. He does not tell us to stay on the path because he is keeping something good from us. No, he keeps things from us to protect us. There are just some things that are better left unknown. As in the case of Eve, knowing good and evil wasn’t beneficial to her, as she soon found out. She focused her attention and her hope on the uncertainty of knowing more. More knowledge requires more responsibility. When the serpent deceived Eve and made her aware that God had more knowledge than she, her response should have been to turn away and trust God instead of doubting His sovereignty. Instead she chose to disobey cleared marked warning signs. Clearly given instructions. And always, with disobedience, there are consequences. It should be enough for us to know evil exists without reaching out and offering it our hand to bite. When God tells us something is dangerous, wrong, bad, or evil, we need to just trust Him. Trust him enough to say, I believe you and I’m going to follow your advice to stay away from it. I believe you want what’s best for me. And choosing my own path, forging ahead without your guidance will only lead me away from you. Eve’s disobedience led her and Adam away from God. Do not be fooled into thinking your choice to disobey God affects only you. Not only Adam, but the rest of humanity has suffered for Eve’s decision. As women and moms we exude an enormous influence over others in our lives. Our choices will affect those around you for generations to come.
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
A witness is a close observer. Who is closer to you than your husband and children? Paul tells us that we are to lay aside every encumbrance, any obstruction that is burdensome, and the sin (insert your own here) that SO EASILY entangles us. Obstructions and sin WILL entangle you. Do you know what it means to be entangled? Twisted together into a confusing mass. How many of our lives would resemble a twisted, confusing mass? You want to be free from the confusion? Ditch what is obstructing your path to God! Let go of that sin that has ensnared you and kept you from walking the path of life and RUN! Run to Jesus! When he says “run with endurance”, it means to run with the power to withstand hardship or stress. God knows the race, the path will be challenging, and difficult at times. Keep going. Choose to stay on the path. Run the race. Friends, it is easier to follow God. Trust me. Trust Him. Have you been forging your own path in life, with your own knowledge? Have you become discouraged and lost your strength? Are you being led off of God’s path? Has God clearly shown you your sinful ways and you’ve chosen to disobey? If you aren’t walking God’s path, whose are you following? As I continually tell my children, “You have a choice. You can either choose your way, or God’s. The path that leads to life and abundance or the path that leads to sin and death.”
Deut 30:19-20, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
Remember, God’s path for you leads to Him. He longs to hold you in his arms and love you as his dear precious child. He promises to protect you and be your refuge and safety. There is no one on this earth that has the depth of knowledge of God. His wisdom reaches to the heavens.
Trust Him today.
Trust Him for tomorrow.
Trust Him for your life.
Trust Him for your children’s lives.
The next time you venture on a nature walk with your children, I hope you will look at the “path” a little differently. May it resemble the path of life, joy and hope that your Heavenly Father has already forged ahead of you. With Jesus Christ as your personal guide, may you walk a little more freely and more comfortable in knowing you don’t have to go this alone. And may you be able to proclaim boldly, as Job (23:11) did,
“My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside.”
Let’s encourage one another on our journey! I’d love to hear from you!