The speaker shared his experiences with his recent hike down and up the Grand Canyon in one day, a challenge that was both extremely difficult and extremely rewarding. Great effort was involved, but the journey was a completely unique experience. This journey contains parallels with our Christian journey.
Our Christian Journey
Very few attempt this journey. Only 5% of visitors to the Grand Canyon venture below the rim of the canyon, and only 1% hike down to the Colorado River. Often, we barely scratch the surface of what it means to be a Christian, and it can be difficult to go deeper. James 1:22-25 challenges us to go beyond superficially hearing the word and to work on applying it. Matthew 7:13-14 tells us only a few will be willing to endure the journey.
The journey is long and requires preparation. The journey begins with enthusiasm and confidence, but, when difficulties set in, feelings of exhaustion and despair can become overwhelming. However, quitting is not an option (Hebrews 10:39). We have a lifetime to continue our walk, and we may question our own ability and resolve. This is part of the journey. In Luke 14:28-33, Jesus uses a couple of parables to illustrate the preparation required to continually follow God. The author of Hebrews 12:1-2 likens our life to a marathon race – maintaining endurance, keeping our goal in view.
There was great benefit in rest and refreshing. Along this hike, rest was mandatory to reaching the goal. As the church is being established in Acts 2, we read that they continued to spend time with each other in the final few verses. Throughout Acts, Christians spend time with each other – building each other up and refreshing each other. Hebrews 10:24 encourages us to keep motivating and encouraging each other. We should value our chances to worship together and to socialize with each other because those are times we can refresh and rest with one another.
We need the help of one another. During the trip, members of the group shared supplies with each other and helped each other out, sometimes even to the point of carrying others’ loads. Hebrews 12:12-13 reinforces this point in Christian living. We need each other to reach our goal, and we should be looking out for each other.
The completion will be worth the journey. Through the pain and effort of the journey, the end brings joy and fulfillment. I Peter 4:12-13 and 5:10 both speak of temporary suffering leading to ultimate joy. In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul speaks of the constant effort he puts into his Christian walk – forsaking the past and pressing toward his goal. For better or worse, our past has brought us to where we are, but we put that behind us in order to push forward.
Are we willing to press on in our own journeys toward the goal of Heaven? Can we finish what we have started? The journey may not be easy, but with endurance and the help of each other, we can obtain the promise of rest and salvation in Jesus Christ.
lesson by Tim Smelser