Putting on Our Spiritual Hiking Boots: Lessons Learned from Hiking

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As many of you know I love to hike, and I have learned many spiritual lessons as I’ve trampled along trails. Although trekking through life is probably an overused metaphor I’m going to use it anyway—from a hiker’s point of view.

Lesson #1 The Right trail

Just like you don’t want to wander through life, you need to pick a trail and follow the trail markers. Otherwise you’ll wind up meandering about, feeling lost and without purpose. You need a destination and a way to get there. But unlike other destinations, there is only one trail up to heaven. And that is through faith in Christ alone.

Lesson #2 Guidance and Help

Once you’re on the right trail, you’ll need guidance and enabling because it’s impossible to hike it alone. You’ve been given spiritual hiking boots—God’s grace and enabling. Put them on because the terrain ahead is rocky.

Next you are to follow the trail markers which are typically painted blazes on trees. Without these you won’t know which way to go. Hiking to the top of a mountain is never in a straight line. If you go your way, you’ll run into unnecessary or insurmountable obstacles. The best way is the one on which your Trail Guide leads. He knows you will not follow perfectly, that you will sometimes wander off or even miss the trail blazes. But He wants you to try—to have a heart to go His way. He’s a very kind and understanding Leader.

Once I was on a trail that I had never been on before which turned out to be very poorly marked. The blazes were a dark purple within a white circle and sparse. Often the white circle was missing, making it hard to see.

(VERY hard to see blaze here)

Not knowing where I am going is frightening to me, so this undefined trail robbed me of peace and enjoyment.

I often feel that way in my spiritual journey—especially in regards to running this ministry. Not knowing often causes me to drag my feet (see last blog). I want to give up, turn around—anything except move ahead into unfamiliar territory.

But the unknown doesn’t have to steal our peace and joy! If we stay close to Him, with our eyes peeled for the next trail blaze, our wise and faithful Guide will show us the right way. We simply need to trust Him to give us all that we need for an enjoyable, though difficult, journey (see 2 Pet 1:3-4).

Now that I’ve learned to trust God more, I’m not quite as fearful with the uncertain future. When I do become anxious, I ask the Lord to please reveal the way. If I become desperate I cry, “I need another trail marker! Am I on the right path? Please show me!” Then when I see the next blaze, I am comforted and reassured.

If God doesn’t quickly present the way, I need to slow down or stop and reassess my situation; even backtrack a bit. Have I veered off the trail? Have I strayed by sinning? Did I miss a blaze by being so wrapped up in my own thoughts or distracted by the world around me?

We must stay alert and close to our Trail Guide. Then we won’t deviate off the trail too far.

Even so there will be times when the trail seems uncertain. Our Guide doesn’t promise to show us the mile up ahead—only the next step. Take that step in faith.

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So my friends, make sure you’re on the right path, stay alert to God’s leading, and during those uncertain times—evaluate, backtrack, or just do what you know you need to do. And remember:

The Holy Spirit is guiding each of your steps, Jesus is walking right alongside you, and the Holy Father saying reassuringly, “This is the [right] way; walk in it.” (Ps 119:105, Mat 28:20, Is 30:21).

 

 

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