We often compare our lives with God to a journey.
“How long have you been walking with Jesus?”
“I’m just trying to find my way with God.”
“I want to finish running the race.”
This imagery makes sense because it’s all throughout the New Testament. Paul and the writer of Hebrews compare our lives with God to a race. Jesus himself compares following him to walking along a narrow road. I read another journeying analogy yesterday that stuck out like an individualized Borg.
“However many cues we have missed, however many wrong turnings we have taken, however unnecessarily we have complicated our journey, the road still beckons, and the Lord still “waits to be gracious" to us (Isaiah 30:18).” – Simon Tugwell
I loved that quote. It struck me even though I was still trying to wake up and hadn’t yet had my cup of coffee. The Lord wants to be gracious to me no matter how many times I screw up. He’s just there, waiting to pour out his grace on me, regardless of how I have treated him.
I especially loved Tugwell’s quote about unnecessarily complicating our journeys. How many of us have been guilty of that? How many of us have added so much to following Jesus that we collapsed beneath the weight? The journey of following Jesus isn’t complicated; it’s embarrassingly simple. If we want to follow Jesus then we just need to follow Jesus.
Complicating the journey leads to missing cues and taking wrong turns. I’ve been most successful in hitting cues and making the correct turns when I boil down following Jesus to spending time with him. When I carve out time to pray, read the Bible and sit at Jesus’ feet, I don’t miss the mark that much and I don’t take that many wrong turns.
When I’ve tried to make following Jesus solely about doing ministry, preparing for sermons or reading Christian books, then I miss cues all the time. When I’ve focused on doing things for Jesus instead of simply being with Jesus, I have taken plenty of wrong turns.
All that other stuff, while great, can complicate the journey. We shouldn’t give up serving and Christian books, but they can’t be the core of our journey. They can take our focus off of Jesus, and simply spending time with him so that we can do what he does.
We’re all on a journey with Jesus, some of us further than others. As long as we stay focused on Jesus, though, and don’t make things too complicated, then we’ll make it through the journey and finish it more like Jesus.
What helps you keep the journey simple?