Driving through the mountains and canyons of southern Utah was an awe-inspiring experience for me. I had never explored this part of the country and was overwhelmed again and again by the unique beauty and rugged landscapes found in the 5 National Parks and 2 National Monument Parks in this part of Southern Utah that we visited. Getting up closer on various hikes we took only made what we were seeing even more sensational and at times even breath-taking.
A constant experience for us was the anticipation of never knowing what was around the next bend or over the next hilltop. It kept us mesmerized while driving thousands of miles and walking trails in various National Parks. But it also kept us awake and alert not only because of the beauty and not wanting to miss anything, but also because of the dangers of sharp turns, unexpected rough roads, steep drop-offs, and difficult footing…and in places like Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, the reality of grizzly bears active in places where we stayed and hiked. There was much beauty to see and just as much danger to steer clear of in every mile we drove and every step we took.
I think this is a good analogy for the spiritual journey we are taking each day. We never know what a new day holds for us (James 4:13-15). Each step we take presents us with another next bend or hilltop that we cannot see around completely. There are great things to experience as well as dangers to avoid.
Are we traveling through life with anticipation, appreciating God's hand in our lives, acknowledging His power, grace, and glory, while at the same time also being alert to the schemes of the evil one who is trying to cause us to get off-course or even crash? The Bible tells us to have both attitudes…to live every day for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31) and to offer continuously to God “a sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15); while at the same time to be conscious of the spiritual battle that is raging all around us and that is aimed at us (Ephesians 6:10-12; 1 Peter 5:8-9).
This is also something we need to be aware of as we are engaged in “The Challenge” all-church spiritual journey, too. Whenever God wants to do something special in our lives, the enemy of our souls often tries to discourage, distract, even destroy that good work of God in us. Perhaps you have fallen behind in your reading…or missed your small group once…or couldn’t make it to church for a service and haven’t found the opportunity yet to watch the service online or get a CD or DVD of that service. Don’t let that stop you from staying involved in the journey. Ask the Lord to help you and He will show you how to re-engage. The only way this spiritual journey will not have some impact in our lives is if we quit it. So just restart today and the Lord will be there to help you with each step.
May God give us all a heart overflowing with thankfulness for Him and anticipation of what He will do in our lives, and at the same time may He give us a discerning mind to clearly see the potential spiritual “drop-offs” that the enemy of our souls would want to use to trip us up.
God bless you all!