[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″]My wife Brenda and I recently took a road trip to visit with her mother, who had been ill. She lives more than 1500 miles away from us, and I had only six days to drive from Los Angeles to her city in the Midwest. This would allow us only a couple days for visiting with her and other family members, and then we would drive the 1500 plus miles back to California.[/x_custom_headline]
It was no easy undertaking, because as a pastor of a local church, I had to stay in communication with my staff, walk several people in our church through some challenging issues in their life over the telephone, stay spiritually sharp and in tune with the Holy Spirit, and prepare my messages that I would preach less than ten hours after I arrived home from my 3000 mile round-trip adventure.
To accomplish this journey in the allotted time we had available to us, I had to set some pretty stringent daily travel goals. Every day in the car required us to travel a minimum of 750 miles. That isn’t unbearable of course, but when you factor in meal stops, bathroom breaks, stops to fuel the car, and picking up more coffee (iced tea for me, please), not to mention all the road construction, (and there seemed to be lots and lots of road construction), which could slow the pace dramatically for miles and miles, those were some very long days…and nights.
[highlight]And perhaps I should add this little caveat as well.[/highlight]
I was already exhausted long before we left on this trip. For a number of weeks, I had been burning the midnight oil with some ministry assignments, getting very little sleep, and pushing just as hard as I could to accomplish some important things we were doing in our ministry. And Brenda had been doing essentially the same thing. So when the call came about her mother’s physical condition, which thankfully has improved, this unplanned road trip materialized in a matter of hours, and off we went. For us at least, this exhaustion only added to the challenge of the long travel days.
On this journey we traveled through dozens of towns and several large cities. And of course, along the way there were mile marker signs, indicating how many more miles until the next city. An oddly enough, those signs actually provided a bit of satisfaction. Because with each one of these signs that we passed, the closer we came to that day’s travel goal, and our ultimate destination.
You see when you are completely exhausted, even though you know you haven’t arrived yet, the fact that you are still moving and getting closer and closer to your destination, provides the much needed encouragement to keep pressing onward.
Our recent road trip reminds me of our spiritual growth and development as believers, and the journey this takes us on. No matter who you are, you haven’t fully arrived yet, but you better still be moving in that direction.
Some people become really discouraged on their journey of becoming the person God intends for them to be, because of all of the everyday obstacles and distractions that all of us have to deal with. So I would simply suggest that you set up some spiritual mile markers, that even though they indicate you haven’t arrived yet, they also reveal that you are still advancing.
Even after many years of successful ministry, the Apostle Paul knew that he had not fully arrived yet but was still moving forward. Look at what he stated below:
[x_blockquote cite=”Philippians 3:13-15 NASU” type=”left”]“13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”[/x_blockquote]
You have to keep moving forward, and keep pressing on no matter what you see, or how you feel. Don’t ever give up!
Set yourself some goals in your Christian life, and strive to obtain them without making excuses. For example, decide to not only faithfully attend your church’s Sunday morning service, but that you will also faithfully attend the Sunday night or midweek service every week. And of course, there will be obstacles to fulfilling this goal. However, if you will do what is necessary to overcome them, you will find that in just a short few months your walk with the Lord Jesus has increased exponentially, all because of making this step forward in church attendance.
Now let me ask you, when was the last time you read through the entire Bible? Or even the New Testament for that matter? I highly recommend that you set a goal to do this. This particular journey will be marked chapter after chapter, instead of mile after mile, but stepping out to do this will cause your knowledge of God and His Word to multiply, as well as set into motion the renewing of your mind and your understanding of the will of God for your life.
At first your spiritual journey may seem far too long and much too impossible to accomplish, but I assure you that it is not. If you will just take one step at a time and stay consistent with that, then shortly you will discover that you are learning and growing and expanding in the things of God, a little more each day.
[x_blockquote cite=”Psalm 84:7 NASU” type=”left”]“They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion.”[/x_blockquote]
If you will determine to consistently move forward in your walk with the Lord, you will soon find that you are growing stronger and stronger, as the verse above describes to us. So choose not to slow your pace or be overcome by the obstacles along the way. Keep advancing.
This journey with the Lord is well worth every single mile. Like me, I hope you are able to say, I haven’t arrived yet but I’m still moving.