Several weeks ago, Pilot and I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. In the late afternoon of the last day of the conference, we decided to hike to the lake. Most conferees had already headed home by then. The once busy campus of Ridgecrest felt rather deserted.
Because I made a last minute decision not to include my hiking boots for the trip, Pilot and I walked on the asphalt road, instead of through the wooded trail. Safer for my sandal-clad feet, I reasoned.
Away from civilization, we rounded a bend in the road. I marveled at the soothing sound of a small stream to my right. I leaned over the edge of the road, stared down to the water below, and kept walking.
That’s when Pilot shouted, “Stop! Snake!”
Got my attention. That’s for sure.
Not more than two steps in front of me, lay a healthy-sized Copperhead. Head up, he sat motionless like, well, a snake on the asphalt. Unperturbed by our presence, the Copperhead continued to gather warmth from the road for his cool evening ahead.
Pilot suggested we walk around the snake, and continue up the mountain to the lake. NOOO…I was not about to expose my ill-shod feet to venomous predators. Thank you very much. Besides, I’m not so sure Pilot could haul me back down the mountain without injuring himself. And I’m pretty positive, despite knowing I would need to stay calm if bitten, that probably wasn’t going to happen.
So I’m thinking…do we ever find ourselves walking along in life, uphill at times, with a goal in mind, only to be distracted by something? We take our eyes off the road, and stumble onto some danger we could have avoided, if we’d kept our eyes open, and paid attention to where we were going.
Sometimes the road blocks send us back the way we came. We refuse to step over, or around the danger, because we are ill-equipped. We don’t have on the right gear.
The apostle Paul gave the Ephesians some good advice which is just as applicable to us today.
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (The Message)
Do you ever take your eyes off the path in front of you? Physically, or spiritually?
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I wish you well.
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