The Pathway


     Some years ago, on a trip home, I had the desire to revisit some of the places I had known and walked growing up there. Among these were the paths that ran all through the woods that surrounded our home.  These had been well known pathways, much walked and used by people of many ages in that area.  I had used them so often that it was no problem to walk them even on the darkest night, so familiar were they to me, and so many others I'm sure.  Yet, when I went into those woods, I was saddened and disappointed to find that they had vanished without a trace.  Those well worn paths were now covered by wild trees and bushes of every variety.  So overgrown with this "wildlife" that they were impassable.  They were now just a memory.
     I think of that experience often when I see where we are in the church.  Please, I am not making a plea for the keeping to tradition, and all the kind of thinking, some of it wrong, that goes with that "label."  Change can be very good and very healthy, but not all is change is good and healthy.  More, I am not talking about overreactions to new methods of church life, or an insistence on our keeping to a church culture of past decades.  No one who really knows me would believe that.  The pathways I speak of are not much to do with what we "do" but who we "are."  Especially as to who we are, and what we have in Christ. Pathways that were walked by men such as the apostles Paul and Peter.  By Luke, Matthew, John, and through men such as Wesley, Spurgeon, Moody, Chambers, Tozer, Sparks, and Nee.  Men who walked the pathway to and into the heart of the Father. A pathway blazed by our Savior, Jesus Christ.  A pathway that I fear, is becoming more overgrown with the wild each day.
     In the modern message of "hyper-grace" where, intended or not, a message is growing that pathways such as the "discipline" of prayer, seeking His face and heart, abiding in Him, speaking with Him, and listening to Him, are being laid aside with the belief that these are all "works of the flesh" and that His grace negates this.  He's done everything, and so, the message, again intended or not, is being heard that therefore, we don't need to do anything.  The joy that Paul and all those others spoke of, of knowing Him more, loving Him more, of dying to self, and seeking Him, is being lost and replaced by a "me" centered gospel.  Jesus came for and died for me, so that that "me" could have all the blessing that His life and sacrifice bring.  Everything is on Him, and nothing much, if anything, is on me.  The greatest tragedy in it all is not the bad teaching, but that so many are missing out on the joy and blessing of a life that hears Him, sees Him, knows Him, and abides in Him, and all of it more and more.
    T. Austin-Sparks said that beginning with the prophets, and continuing on through His Word, the central message was that we are called to know Him and love Him, and increasingly so in our lives.  It's a knowing that goes on throughout all eternity.  It is the "one thing" Paul spoke of in Philippians 3; the pressing on into the fullness of the "upward call" of Christ.  Paul "strained forward" to answer that call, and enter into that place.  No, it is not a "work" but it is a and into Him.  A pathway. Are you, we, on it?  Has it gotten overgrown by the wild?  Begin anew, and He will clear it.  The footsteps of all those who have gone before, including Christ the King, are there.  It will take us upward ....and all the way home.

Pastor O


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   May 2019   
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