By: John McCann« Back to Devotions Page
Whizzing down highway 99 in my 1983 Toyota 2wd (wheel drive) pickup with 180,000 miles on it, I was set for a good time. I was heading out to play in the mud and back roads of Galt, CA, better known in our group and unofficially as, “Liberty Off-Road Park”. It was a privately owned piece of land that we had no permission to be on, a place where we had been “asked to leave” many times before, a place to have fun and see how muddy your truck could get. The objective of any true “mudder” is to have so much mud on the truck, that one could not determine the vehicle’s actual color! Now that is big fun!
Some of you may be stuck on the 2wd versus 4wd part of the story. How can you go four-wheeling in a 2wd drive truck? The answer is simple. You just do. Some of you may be hung up on the private property and the no permission aspect. Well, what can I say? It’s the truth.
I had a lot of fun in that little beater, but I could only go so far. I needed more. I made a few upgrades along the way, eventually selling it. I bought an 85 Toyota 4x4 with big tires and big lights, but then, sold that and bought a 67 Bronco. Basically, it was a 70’s four-wheeler in terms of technology, but a little bit of time and money, (who am I kidding?... lots of time and money) and it moved into 2000’s technology, better axels, upgraded to an EFI system, long travel suspension and it is still evolving. Progression is something we all do.
You may not be a car person. My son, for instance, is not. He is a video game guy. Always looking to get to the next level, to be better than the person he is playing against. He knows all the short cuts and hot keys to make his characters do all this cool stuff. But how do we know if what we are progressing toward is something that is good for us? Where is our next step leading?
Proverbs 14:12 says, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Gulp. Really? Is your way leading to death? Maybe we need to reevaluate our actions and interests. I mean, if my way seems right but can lead to death, wouldn’t it be important to understand if the way I am living needs to change?
First, how do you progress toward something? Well usually is it through exerting time and energy, through thoughts, making plans and actually doing something. Write down a few things that are progressing in your life. This could be anything. Consider Mary in the video testimony section of this website, she is progressing in her swimming, and doing a good job of it. You may be progressing to a high school diploma or a new job. What are you progressing toward?
You know, sometimes we start down a road and don’t realize where it is taking us. We could be progressing towards something great and positive or quite the opposite. Genesis 4 shows us a very negative progression in the story of Cain and Abel. In verses 3-7 we see Cain’s progression toward anger and jealousy, resulting (verse 8) in the murder of his brother, Abel. It all started with Cain doing what seemed right in his own eyes.
What about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus? We find the story in Luke 22. Judas had a different understanding of why Jesus was here and what kingdom Jesus sought to rule. Judas thought that his actions would lead to something positive and help Jesus usher in His kingdom and in so doing earn himself a high position in the new land. But something went wrong. Satan entered Judas (verse 3) and the story ends in ultimate betrayal (verse 48). The progression started with Judas thinking that his way was right.
Your education is a progression, right? Education appears to be a positive progression. But as you can see in the verses above, not all of life’s progressions are positive. Right now you may be at a high point in your life, school is cool and so are you. If you are an upperclassman, you are a leader of your school. What you do and say sets the example on campus. Freshman, sophomores they all watch to see what is cool, how to act and when to act. Your time is now. What are you leading them toward? Are you Living it?
Soon you will be off to college. Trying to fit in and looking to the upperclassmen to see what’s cool. You will be bombarded with a new host of trials and temptations and decisions will need to be made. What will you progress toward?
A few years back Peace4Youth took a group of high school students to San Francisco to do street ministry work with YWAM (Youth With A Mission). During our street work, I saw someone I refer to as the soccer mom. She was strung out on, most likely, heroin but the contrast was stark. She sat there next to this crazy guy, and I mean crazy, who was yelling. He was obviously someone who had been on the street for many years. Yet, there she was, moderately clean, wearing nice jeans, a college sweatshirt, and even had her wedding ring on still. I do not know what brought her to that place. But I suggest that, way back when, she did not think that smoking a little of this or snorting a little of that would lead to her living on the street next to a crazy guy. We all have choices to make. Will your choices center around God or yourself?
Listen in John 17: 13-19 how your Jesus pleads to God the Father for you to progress after Him.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified
1. Life is a progression. What are you progressing towards?
2. What does Living it mean to you?
3. Is there a way that seems right to you, but that will end in spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical death?
4. What choices are you being faced with right now that you need to bring before Jesus in personal prayer?
Oh Father who dwells in my heart and makes Himself real through the created world around me. I love you and want You to grow in me. I am but a weak sheep grazing in the fields of this world. Protect me from the wolves who seek to harm me. Let your spirit call to me and allow my choices to serve you and tune my ear to your calling. Produce through me a life that is ever progressing toward You. Amen.