Several Paths Diverged in a Wood

Challenge Central: a CBC devotional

By: John Kerr

I spent three years pastoring in northern BC. It was a different way of life, and it took a bit of adjusting at first. Hunting was a part of that way of life and, in some cases, was expected, so I learned to hunt. It wasn’t long before I realized the potential problems of being out in the bush, usually alone.

I followed a game path once to check out an area to hunt. The trail was well used and clear to follow. It led me into a clearing, and after looking around, I decided that this wasn’t a good place to hunt. I had felt confident that I knew the path, so l hadn’t marked it for my return trek. When I turned around, I found several game paths leading to that clearing! Which one was mine? I picked one and followed it out of the bush. It took me about a mile from where I came in, but other than a long walk, no harm was done.

During my time there, I heard several tragic stories of people lost in the bush. One especially was a man who passed away only yards from a road that would have meant his rescue.

In the Christian life, we often are unaware of the potential dangers that surround us. It is tragic when a brother or sister loses their way because they are ill-prepared for the dangers we face in the Christian life.

I learned three things from my experiences that I have sought to use as a basis for my Christian life.

First, be prepared. “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), and “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Know your enemy and be prepared for anything! You are more likely to encounter a bear on an open path than you are when working your way through the bush.

Second, be equipped. In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul outlines the Christian’s armour. To be prepared, one needs the proper equipment to be able to face the challenges that lie ahead. Once my truck got stuck on a road in the bush. I hadn’t planned on a major problem but soon found that I wasn’t really prepared. Fortunately, after a long walk, some other hunters came to my aid.

Third, have a game plan. In several places, Paul talks about our “walk” as believers. “Look carefully how you walk” (Ephesians 5:15), or as the KJV says, “walk circumspectly.” Knowing the signs when one is walking in the bush is essential. Being able to read signs will help you avoid an unwanted encounter!

The Christian life is a great adventure, but there are many pitfalls that can cause us to stumble. Be prepared!

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