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February 2, 2024


 

The Christian life is best described as a journey. In fact, more than 700 times in Scripture faith is described as such. A walk… a journey… a road… a way… a path. You get the idea. This idea captures the essence of what it’s like to follow Jesus perhaps more than any other. Journeys always involve movement, action, stops and starts, detours, delays, and trips toward the unknown. This certainly must have been what Abram experienced when God called him to leave his country, his home, and his family and follow him to a new life built upon faith in Him. He was promised that he would be blessed and be a blessing to the entire world at some distant point as he journeyed in trust.

 

Pop culture and literature has painted a picture of a hero’s journey for centuries.

  • A hero is introduced to a problem to solve or journey to take.

  • The hero accepts the call to the adventure.

  • A sage or mentor comes along and offers wisdom to the hero to guide him along.

  • The hero faces a foe who opposes him and his mission.

  • The hero must decide if she will turn back, give in to defeat, or journey forward.

  • The hero defeats the foe, accomplishes the mission, and returns home changed.

 

Frodo and Gandalf, Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan, Batman and Alfred, and so on. Hero and sage. The heroic journey is an ancient story form. In fiction, you notice that the journey is valuable in that it forms the hero over time. The mission is eventually accomplished but not until after much pain, joy, failure, learning, and trust are experienced and built along the way.

 

I believe this form of storytelling across time and cultures isn’t coincidental. I believe our Heavenly Father built into our hearts a desire for adventure and journey. You see it throughout the biblical narrative. Moses, Ruth, David, Esther, Peter, Paul, and others. Each lead by God to walk a faith-path. Danger and joy would be experienced along the way. They would know spiritual attack, failure, delight, humility, and Spirit-forming transformation. Though unlike fiction, these women and men would be imperfect shadows of the real hero. Jesus. God would lead them, and Jesus would accomplish perfectly what they could not. And he’s coming back to finish the work he’s begun in us!

 

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me. -Psalm 5:8

 

We often experience our faith in Christ very differently. Instead of accepting an invitation to an adventure, we come to Jesus like we do a good meal. We accept, we partake, enjoy the moment, and walk away filled up (as far as we can tell) and wait until the next meal. For many of us, Jesus is a moment (when we put our faith in him or perhaps when we were baptized). Instead of starting a journey with the Lord we made a one-time decision. And that was that. We’re tempted to view the Gospel as a thing that happened. Jesus came, he gave us good advice, he did marvelous things, he died on the cross for my sins, and he rose from the grave. Those were events that happened in a time and place in history. It’s good news and we’re glad it happened.

 

But we’re wrong (or only half right). The Gospel is an on-going good news experience. The Gospel continuously changes us as we walk the journey of faith. The Good News opens the gates of Heaven and the Spirit of God is at work forming our hearts, challenging our beliefs, moving us to places of discomfort and trust, opening our eyes to our failures, and leading us to deeper places. Along the path we experience more of God, and we surrender in obedience to him more and more. This is our journey. This is what God has invited us to.

 

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. -Colossians 1:6

 

How is the Gospel forming you day by day? The Good News is that Jesus came and died for you and saved you by no effort of your own! If he did that, imagine what he can and wants to do in you as you follow him and await his future glory in eternity! He’s not even close to being done with you. Change is coming. Offer yourself to him. Journey onward.

 

On the Path,

Nathan


Nathan Hinkle

Lead Pastor

White Oak Christian Church





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