"Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
Have you ever planned a road trip before? I think you will agree that good driving directions are a very important part of a successful road trip. These days we don’t use our old fold up maps from AAA any more. Our family mostly uses the internet and some people even have fancy navigation systems installed right in their vehicles. You need only to type in or just “speak” your destination and it directs your every turn. I can’t speak for the navigation systems, but sometimes the internet directions either aren’t quite right or they are incomplete, so we always keep our fold-up maps on standby just in case.
Many times we’ve been headed in what we thought was the right direction only to find that we missed a turn or took a wrong one. We've had to pull over and get the fold-up map out to check our directions and sometimes we've even had to stop at a gas station to seek local expert assistance on where we are going. It takes precious travel time to figure it out sometimes doesn’t it? Whether you’re just staring at the map or finding a local that really does know what he’s talking about time will be lost.
Life is like that sometimes too, isn’t it? You find yourself steadily moving along and suddenly you’re at a crossroads, you pull right up to your own personal intersection of life and wonder “where the good way is?” As believers we usually stop, look up and say okay God where am I headed, but do we really do all of our homework before we take that next step?
Though it could happen, it’s unlikely today that God is going to whip the wind in a certain direction making it clear to us which way to go. Even if he did we’d likely still remain there, furrowed browed and puzzled, trying to decide what is best. It’s just not that easy and seeking His way is never quick.
There are many crossroads in our lives and they are unique to each individual, but what it all boils down to is the choices we make each day and really it’s about “who” we are making choices for. We live in a fast paced, self-involved world and it’s spinning so fast most of the time that we are making decisions by the minute, sometimes without thought. I’ll give us all the benefit of the doubt and say that “subconsciously” we end up making most of our choices based on what we want. Our own plans and selfish desires somehow make their way on to the path ahead.
I’ve got news for you my friends… the crossroads are not there by accident. They are reminders, free supernatural moments handed down to us by our loving Creator causing us to stop and seek the ancient paths to find the good way… His way. They provide an opportunity to do a “spirit check” a place to do what Jesus required of his disciples and what he also requires of us… to “deny ourselves and follow him.”
Standing at the crossroads, we will put on the breaks to our own urgent agenda, be still long enough to clearly see beyond ourselves for His way ahead. We must thoughtfully and prayerfully take in our surroundings. We may even be required to take out our old fold-up map… the bible, before we can be sure we are moving in the right direction.
Our bible, just like road maps can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when we are standing at a crossroad and confused. In these cases we may also need to seek some expert assistance… godly counsel, to confirm our new path. God often gives us great wisdom through the people around us and we are also wise to seek it. Proverbs 5:1 says “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”
However, we must do this responsibly. We can not put our trust in people, only in God, so whatever direction is given from people we ought to confirm… “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John:1 We should pray, testing any advice with the Truth of his word, proceeding slowly and cautiously allowing Him to lead.
Just like on a road trip, pulling out the bible and seeking godly council will cost us precious travel time. More than that, pursuing Jesus first in our lives means we absolutely will lose our lives. But, in return we get to claim His promises… "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” That motivates me... you? The simple reminder that our eternal lives are at stake by not following Jesus gets my attention, but it's not enough and it's selfish thinking too. Don’t get me wrong our eternal lives are at stake and that should motivate us, but we ought to follow Jesus because HE is GOD and because we love him desperately and more than our life. We have to remember why it is we are here. Though the world would have us believing it’s all about us, we know well it's not about us, don't we?
It iS all about Him.
If we sincerely seek the good way it can always be found in the ancient paths… the old ways. That’s exactly why God gave us the Living Word, to guide us through this life. It may indeed be old, but as Ecclesiastes reminds us “there is nothing new under the sun.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” He gave us the handbook for life, we need to take the time to use it.
When you find yourself at the crossroads do look up to God, but also reach for your bible, study the ancient paths, seek godly council, find the good way and walk in it. "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Luke 11:28
Does your soul need rest? Mine does too.
Join me and “Seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God.” (Mat. 6:33) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men… It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Col. 3:23,24). Keep the first and greatest commandment “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Mat. 22:37,38) This is where and only where rest for your soul will be found.