image by idealistcafe.com
This last summer my grandson Josh and I took off to climb Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48. His success, and my failure, were recounted in an earlier post, so we'll not repeat my embarrassment. But the Whitney ascent begins with a nice, fairly moderate wooded trail. In my ignorance, I assumed the rest of the trail would be as easy.
But like the pic of the trail shows, relatively soon the timberline took over, an altitude too high for trees to grow, and few plants of any kind. The woods gave way to solid, broken, jagged granite. Several times, the steep trail almost seemed to disappear. In decades past, workers hauled cement and water up the trail to patch the most treacherous portions, but the strenuousness didn't ease up.
While climbing, you had to watch the trail to avoid stumbling or tumbling, but the magnificently rugged scenery compelled your attention as well. After Josh summitted, he slipped on a rock and fell to his knees, fortunately unhurt. But the night we arrived at Trail Camp, just six miles below the peak, a hiker fell, resulting in a compound fracture of her arm and a dislocated shoulder. She chose to hike down that six miles, in the dark. Whitney requires you walk wisely.
Life is like that, especially in the spiritual realm. Listen to God's take on life: "Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil" (Proverbs 4:25-27).
The first part applies to Whitney. Have a destination. Look where you're going. Be careful. But the last phrase takes it beyond Whitney to walking with God. "Keep your foot from evil."
So, have a spiritual goal--know where you want to end up spiritually. Not so much heaven, that's understood. But what kind of person would you like to become? How would you like to impact others? Or, pioneer a path that leads to your destination.
Then, identify all that can deter you. What might cause you to stumble? Are you veering off the path? Or, stay on that trail.
Kick Starting the Application
What spiritual goals do you have? Do you have specific ones? Have you taken time to discover what might keep you from arriving? What rocks of temptation might cause you to fall? What side paths might lead you astray?