As many of you know from visiting my blog’s Face book page, I recently visited three of our beautiful national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches, all in Utah. As I was trooping up and down all sorts of trails and switchbacks and barely perceptible paths on sandy shale, I saw many forms of the sign, “Stay on the trail!”
There was the “your footprints matter, please stay on the trail” sign.
Then there was the “restoration in process, do not disturb, stay on the trail” sign.
I also saw some “do not climb on, under, or around this fence. Stay on the trail” signs, “danger, falling rocks, stay on the trail” signs and “stay away from the edge, danger of falling, stay on the trail” signs.
I figured all those signs were designed to keep us hikers and tourists safe. Apparently some knucklehead had done precisely the opposite a few decades ago and gotten themselves hurt, and then they had to post a sign.
As believers, especially single ones, we are admonished to stay on the trail of faith because of those around us and coming after us. We don’t always know who is watching our walk or needing the encouragement of knowing that if you can make it, they can make it.
We have to remember that our Christian walk is not just about us and our needs and wants. Our walk is always public. Our Christian walk is always lived in the context of both present-day believers and the testimony of church history.
The Lord and the cloud of witnesses of Hebrews chapters 11 and 12 don’t want us to become another fatality in the history of the church. Too much—the eternal souls of men and women, boys and girls—are at stake.
Your footprints do matter. Stay on the trail for others to follow. As weak or new as you think you are in the Lord, you might be the only way out of the darkness for someone watching.
Many are being restored to the Lord and to others in their lives because of your walk and witness. Love and support, but do not rescue someone who’s continually making poor choices. If you keep standing between them and the natural consequences of their unhealthy choices, how will they ever learn or come to the Lord? Stay on the trail and keep shining that light.
Do not climb on, under, or around the boundaries of the life and ministry that the Lord has established for you. They’re there for your safety.
For instance, Christian single, it’s not wise to spend tons of time with someone of the opposite gender who’s married. Many marriages have been broken because a married person and a single person developed unhealthy emotional bonds in the context of work or ministry. Stay on the trail and don’t become a fatality sliding down the slippery slope of poor boundaries leading to disaster and brokenness.
Don’t step under the heavy boulders of guilt, shame, condemnation, or the flesh. They’re liable to fall on you and crush you to a spiritual death.
Finally, my single Christian friends, don’t wander off the path too close to the edge. Many waste precious time seeing how close they can get to sin and still call themselves Christian instead of seeing how close they can get to Him.
Questions reveal the level of maturity and of our understanding of our identity and power in Christ as new creations. When we ask, “Can I (activity) and still be a Christian?” or “Will God forgive me if I go to (questionable location)?” or even, “Why can’t I (activity)?” our focus is on asserting our rights and, possibly, feeding our fleshly desires as independent citizens in an individualistic, Western culture. It’s not necessarily on honoring the Lord, obeying the whole counsel of God, or submitting to the spirit (attitude and intention) of the law.
Instead of getting close to a dangerously unstable edge, seek to get as close to the Lord as we possibly can. Don’t become a hiking casualty. Stay on His path, His trail, my single friend, and allow Him to lead you along life’s greatest hike, the Hike of Life. Be part of His history and make an impact for His kingdom and His people.
For daily inspiration and exhortation, please look for me on Face Book at “For single Christians: One is a Whole Number.” Be sure to Like and Share the page and anything you find there that is helpful and inspiring.