Monday, December 28, 2009

Spiritual Destinations

"Set up signposts, make landmarks; Set your heart toward the highway"...Jer. 31:21a

It's time to get serious about our destination. There is a sense of urgency in my spirit as I enter this new year about where I am going and how I will get there. I am not the outdoorsy type and I know very little about hiking, but I do know that before you embark on any kind of journey involving distance or difficult terrain, it is imperative that you have specific signposts or landmarks along the way that you look for to ensure that you are on the right path. You might want to think of them as markers or "goals". What a waste it would be to spend days hiking on a trail only to realize that you ended up at the wrong destination.

Though in the natural realm we would not think of attempting a challenging trail without mapping out our journey ahead of time, we often set out on our spiritual journey without the necessary signposts to assure us that our feet are indeed following the right path. The Lord has been impressing me with the fact that goals or "signposts" are a vital part of the journey that He has prepared for us. They are markers of a different type of journey, but just as important as the landmarks on the hike up a mountain.

The signposts that we put in place for our spiritual journey are whatever it will take to make sure we stay on the trail and arrive at our destination. For me this year, accountability will be one of the signposts that marks my spiritual trail. In this case, accountability will be a self-imposed discipline where I give someone else the right to ask me how I'm doing on my journey. I'm doing this because I see the prize at the end of the journey, and I know that too often we get weary on the trail and left to ourselves, we might not be able to muster up the courage to finish well. Accountability is like someone putting their arm around you and helping you to keep going when you feel like you can't go another step on your own. Accountability separates those who are serious about reaching the destination from those who are not.

Another signpost for my spiritual journey this year is words of prophecy. Prophetic words are a big part of the "setting your heart toward the highway" mentioned in Jer. 31:21. God has used prophetic words in my life to call me up to something higher than I would have dared to reach for on my own. Words are powerful and creative and when spoken over someone, they call forth those things in our lives that God has placed within our hearts that have not yet taken form or shape. I love it that God calls things that 'are not as though they were' and we get to partner with Him in attaching our faith to the things that He has spoken into in our lives believing Him and 'judging Him faithful who promised'.

At different times along the trail it will be important to stop, pause, and once again read over the prophetic words that the Lord has spoken to me. Does my daily walk line up with what He has said? What can I do to better implement what He has spoken to me? Does my present path point me in the direction of seeing these words fulfilled?

Other important markers on my journey this year are landmarks of thanksgiving and gratefulness. Often we see historical landmarks along our nation's highways that indicate that something important happened at that particular location. I'm learning how important it is to be thankful and grateful for even the smallest of things that God does in our lives. In Joshua 4, the Children of Israel were instructed to make a landmark of 12 stones as a reminder to themselves and future generations to be grateful for the Lord's faithfulness and deliverance to them as a nation as the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant.

I'm learning that it is extremely important to "make landmarks" or reminders to ourselves of the Lord's faithfulness to us in our personal journey all along the way. Over time, it is too often our tendency to forget the activity or miracles He has done in our lives, and the landmarks we make will help ensure that we do not soon forget. Though they are markers that we look back to, they have a way of keeping our feet on the right path that lies ahead. Our hearts are encouraged to know that what He has done before, He can do again.

One last signpost for my journey this year will be the signpost of JOY. A sure sign that I have somehow lost my footing or gotten on the wrong path is an absence of joy in my life. The Kingdom of God is characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy, and joy is our strength for the journey. Without joy we will soon burn out and wonder why we did not have the strength to finish well. One thing I'm hearing Daddy God say clearly to me is "lighten up and enjoy the journey!"

As I set my heart toward the highway He has marked out for me this year I'm packing my bag with accountability, prophetic words, and gratefulness. In my hand I'll be carrying a JOY-odometer so I'll recognize quickly when I'm running low and I can stop by a "Presence" station and fill up. We know that in His presence is fullness of Joy!

I'm looking forward to the journey ahead because I know that "He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it". The Holy Spirit knows every bend and turn of the road up ahead, so I can just relax and follow the best guide ever.

Hope to see you on the trail!

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