Last week my good friend Frank and I did our annual pilgrimage up to Camp Muir on Mount Rainier. The only word that adequately describes the physical effort required for this nine-mile trek uphill through rock and snow is “brutal”. Yet, at the same time it is an intensely “spiritual experience”. Inevitably there is something about this mountain journey that lifts me out of ordinary thoughts and mundane concerns and instead turns my mind to the Lord and His Word. There seem to be spiritual and biblical lessons that are highlighted with every step. Over the next few days I will share a few; but one that stood out was a fresh appreciation of Ephesians 5:15.
“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—” (Ephesians 5:15; CSB)
This verse came to mind as we picked our way through the piles of unstable rock that are encountered above the tree line and beyond the groomed trails. Every step is fraught with potential ankle spraining or even leg breaking dangers. You must test and be certain of every foot placement.
I also considered this verse as we were traversing the two miles of uphill snowfields. This year substantial crevasses have opened on the snowfields. Deep rifts have appeared in the snowpack. First you must watch carefully for these deep chasms that could easily swallow a person whole. If you are trudging along on autopilot a dangerous complacency can set in and you could miss the gap. Second, once you encounter a crevasse, you must search and consider carefully where you will cross. You must ask yourself if you can make the leap successfully without slipping back in! Likewise, will the ice bridge you are crossing be stable enough to bear you up?
The Apostle Paul is telling us that life is very much like this. Life is a journey; life is a walk. But it is not a walk in the park; rather, life is a rock-strewn, pitfall-riddled, uphill trek. It is too easy to live in the routines, walking, as it were, “on autopilot”. It is perilous to walk carelessly through life, heedless of the dangers into which we might step. Paul’s words are an exhortation to find the wisdom of God. Having found wisdom in His Word we can use it to recognize the pitfalls along the path of life. We can apply its precepts thoughtfully to the opportunities and decision points of our lives.
How many times I have counseled someone who has stumbled badly or even fallen into a “deep crevasse” on the road of life, and they said something like, “I guess I wasn’t thinking.” (I have said that myself a few times!) This is exactly what Paul warns us against, living mindlessly, living without consideration of consequences, living aimlessly.
None of what Paul says should be construed as a call to play it safe in life. Life is still an adventure! There are mountains to climb! Just be careful where you step!
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