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Points to Ponder: Watch Your Step (But Not Too Much)
Points to Ponder
Watch Your Step (But Not Too Much)
We all have encountered steps or an entryway where a sign cautions us, "Watch Your Step". The objective is to make you think before you walk ahead so that you do not fall. This is wise and healthy in the practical, everyday living of life; however, there comes a time when it is the very thing that is causing you to trip or lose your balance, and fall on your face. If you "watch your step" too closely for too long, you take your eyes off the world around you as well as the destination toward which you are heading. That can be far more dangerous in the long run.
At a local carnival one day, a minister watched a boy make his way through the spinning barrel. The object was to walk through the large, long tube as it turned; keeping one's footing as the challenger walked from one end to the other. Most who tried it fell down. The local minister watched the boy make it through and he thought it looked simple enough. "What's the big deal? Just watch your step", he thought to himself.
When he entered the barrel, he almost immediately lost his balance and fell down. Again and again he got up and plopped right back down. When he finally got his embarrassed self out of there, the operator pointed to a shining object at the far end of the open barrel. He said, if you had focused your sights on the light at the end instead of on your feet, you would have made it."
There are times in life when you find yourself in a long dark tunnel--and it is spinning under your feet. You lose balance; you are unsteady at times. Each step seems to move you slowly ahead, but there still lacks a certain firmness under your feet. Spiritually speaking, you are on shaky ground - not that you are out of the will of God, or deep in some sin. Sometimes it is precisely because you are in the will of God, and going in the direction He has called you, that you are struggling to walk upright.
The psalmist writes a truth worth memorizing: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)
But, let me add to that what my high school driver education teach taught us. This helps us to apply what the psalmist says: "Aim high in steering." Look at where you are heading. The vehicle follows the direction of your sight.
His point was particularly useful because we learned to drive in a 1977 Buick. Remember how wide they were? From behind the wheel it looked like the car would hit both the parked cars and the oncoming traffic. To focus too long on either would cause the driver to do just that!
And so it is with our feet. If we pray and stare, pray and stare, and pray and stare ONLY at our feet and where they are, we will soon fall. What good does it do if you are on a night hike in the woods and you point the flashlight only at your feet? Soon you will walk into a tree.
The Word of God is the lamp and the light, the psalmist says. How do you operate it? You pour it into your mind and heart through regular reading and reflection. You do not point your Bible down at your shoes, do you? The word goes into you and the Holy Spirit speaks through it to you. The feet are not just the literal attachments you have with shoes on; the feet and the path are expressions regarding life and living. We talk about a "walk of life" or the "path of life", or one's life journey. The physical feet move the body forward; the spiritual feet speak of the walk of your soul. To walk with the Lord is to live your life with Him, through Him, and unto Him. (Romans 14:7-8 and II Corinthians 5:14-15) That means looking ahead as you go. "For we walk by faith, not by sight." (II Corinthians 5:7)
The walk is how we set our priorities, conduct our lives, and apply the word to our daily living. Sometimes that walk is rough. Evangelist Joyce Meyer encourages you who are stumbling through the tunnel as you strive to follow the Lord: "Whatever He orders, He pays for...Grace is the power of God coming to you at no cost to you, to do through you what you can not do by yourself. Beware of thoughts that say, I can not do this, it is just too hard. Sometimes God leads us the hard way instead of the easy way because He is doing a work in us. How will we ever learn to lean on Him if everything in our lives is so easy that we can handle it ourselves?" (Quoted in Homiletics)
If you are in the tunnel, and your steps keep landing on uncertain ground, remember to focus on the light at the end. He will keep you upright and moving forward. Just keep walking 'til you get there.
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.
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