Scripture Reflections @ CEC (8/10/20)
“Reading the Bible without meditating on it is like trying to eat without swallowing.” -anonymous
Scripture & Devotion: Scriptural focus: Ephesians 5:15
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise
We hiked to Blue Pool up on the McKenzie River last Monday. The sign at the beginning of the trail lists some of the possible things that can happen if you undertake this hike, including broken leg, heart issues, death. Pretty inviting, huh. And indeed, on the way in, we encountered a group of four - 2 guys and 2 gals - and one of the gals had severely sprained her ankle and the two young men were supporting her on each side as she hopped on one foot back out of the forest. Yet we persevered.
It's a beautiful hike through the cool shade of the forest. We heard the peaceful silence of the quiet woods and the rushing waters of the beautiful McKenzie river. The trail is well maintained, and starts out smooth enough. A wide, clear path with no obstacles.
Here's the truth about this hike: Just like life, while it is CLEARLY A PATH, it is not A CLEAR PATH.
A path that started out wide and clear became full of obstacles: tree roots and rocks that you have to step over and around, climbing up and over. Parts of the path were along the riverbank, and parts were high above the river. But we knew what the destination looked like - we had seen pictures taken by those that had already made the trek.
I found myself thinking about my walk with God - and how often we hear the words "Keep looking up." But if I had been looking up, I would have fallen down! In fact, even while I was trying to be careful, I still stumbled and tripped many times! The trail became more treacherous and required my full attention.
I realized that the only way I could look up was to STOP. When I stopped, I could enjoy what was around me - sometimes taking in the silence, and sometimes the sound of the rushing waters.
Ephesians 5:15 says “Look carefully how you walk!” Look carefully means to consider with exactness and precision. On this trail, I had to consider my steps with exactness and precision. I had to concentrate - if I tried to look up or around very much, it was so easy to trip and stumble. We often think that if we can just make the climb, get to the top, then it will be "smooth sailing" (or smooth walking, in this case.) The top was just as rocky and full of roots, but there were some great places to sit and enjoy the scenery. Here's another reality about this hike: the path back down required just as much focus and concentration - if not more. I find that when I relax, thinking that it is going to be easy, that is almost always the time that I slip, lose my footing, because I'm not focused on where I'm stepping. It's the same in our lives. Paul is calling us to consider everything about our walk - the way we live. Are we living as light in places of darkness? Do we reflect the grace and compassion of Jesus in the way we live? Do we serve others?
The verse finished with this phrase: not as unwise, but as wise. Proverbs says "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." James says that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God, who gives to all without finding fault." Walking in wisdom means asking God to help us see each rock, each root that might be along our path, and asking Him for the strength to make the journey around each of those obstacles.
May you find strength for whatever part of the trail you're on!
We need Your wisdom to navigate the trail that You've placed us on each and every day. Thank You that You teach us how to look carefully at how we walk, and to give us wisdom as we ask You.