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Finding the Road
In this season of going through the book Pilgrims Progress together, we are following Christian’s journey to the Celestial City. This week we are focusing on the second part of Christian’s journey. You can find this week’s reading here.
In this chapter, we see Christian encountering distractions like worldly wisdom that get him “off track.” But we also see that God is always faithful to help him find the way back.
Have you ever been on a journey and lost your way? I recently travelled by car to the United States alone, and my trip was going very well until I lost my cell phone signal. I had lost access to the map that showed me which way I was supposed to go. I was lost.
Have you ever felt this way – that maybe you’ve lost your way spiritually? Have you gone through moments where you feel you have stopped hearing God’s voice or lost your focus and direction in life?
Most of us have had a moment like this, or maybe you feel like you’re going through a moment like this right now. Maybe your circumstances or poor decisions has caused you to lose sight of God and His purposes for your life.
The good news is that when we lose our direction, it doesn’t mean that we can’t find our way back to the road!
When I got lost on my trip, I stopped at a supermarket and found some wonderful people who printed out a map for me and explained how to get to my destination. I had to pause, ask for help, look at a map, get advice from locals who had traveled that way before. Then I had to decide to take action to follow their instructions. Likewise, in our Spiritual walks, there are some practical steps we can take to find the way back when we are lost:
1. Pause and pray.
If we do not pause, it is easy to make an emotional decision with permanent consequences. Prayer helps us in the midst of the problem; it can give us a fresh perspective, bring peace, reveal God’s will to us, and so much more. Paul tells us about the effectiveness of prayer in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Proverbs 3:5 also says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” We can trust God and come close to Him in prayer at any time; He is faithful to respond.
2. Go to God’s word.
The Bible can give us direction in every area of our lives, and His word and truth never change. It is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If we have lost direction, we can turn to the Bible to provide us with wisdom and counsel. It is written in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Paul also reminds us in his letter to Timothy of the benefits of approaching God through His word, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
3. Seek advice from other believers.
Many times out of sorrow, fear, or pride, we do not ask for advice or help, but the Bible encourages us to seek advice and support from other believers. Proverbs 20:18 says, “Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice.”
Do you notice how this verse speaks about “good counsel?” In the book Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian gets distracted by a man named Worldly Wise, who leads him astray. It’s wise to seek counsel from people who are a step ahead in their spiritual walk and maturity. Pastor Brad’s blog last week spoke about how Evangelist helped Christian find his way back to the road; Evangelist was someone who had gone before Christian in His faith walk.
In good times and bad, it is always good to have a group of people praying with you, believing with you, and giving you godly wisdom. These are just a few of the benefits of joining a Life Group!
4. Respond in obedience.
When I was lost on my trip, I was given a map and wise advice to be able to arrive at my destination. But I had to then decide, would I act on what I had been given? I needed to respond in obedience and act on the instructions or risk staying lost. This can also happen in our lives; the Holy Spirit speaks to us through prayer, and we receive wise counsel from other believers and from God’s word, but we are then responsible to respond in action and obedience. We can receive all the resources we need but we won’t get anywhere until we respond. I appreciate how Pastor Chris has often asked the congregation, “What was the last thing God spoke to you? Are you doing it?” God often will not show us the next step until we take the last step of faith and obedience that He has asked of us.
Much like Christian in Pilgrims Progress, we too are pilgrims heading toward a Celestial City. On our way there, there will be valleys and mountains, but in every step, God will remain faithful and provide us with what we need to return to the road and enter through the narrow gate.