Resources for the Journey
Dec 21, 2009 by Bruce Demarest | 0 Comments
While traveling for business or pleasure we are careful to bring along what is needed for the journey. So it is with the spiritual journey to our heavenly home. While God faithfully does His part, so we must do our part (see Phil. 2:12-13; 2 Peter 1:3-8). As Augustine put it, “Without God we cannot; without us God will not.”
As followers of Jesus here are some resources that will ensure a successful and satisfying journey. We must develop a regimen of healthy spiritual habits that create an environment of availability to God’s grace. These would include disciplines such as solitude, biblical meditation, fasting, corporate worship and service. In particular, we must cultivate a healthy life of prayer—the essential lifeblood of growing Christians. “Prayer,” Francis of Sales observed, “is the perfume of heaven bringing Jesus to us.”
We do well also to walk with a spiritual friend or mentor. As the lead character, Christian, experienced in Bunyon’s classic, Pilgrim’s Progress, we cannot reach the destination alone; we need a discerning companion who will listen to God with us, encourage us and pick us up when we fall. Furthermore, we should allow ourselves to be formed by life’s inevitable hardships and suffering. If the Son of God needed to be perfected by his trials (see Heb. 5:8), so also do we. Calvin noted, “The more we are afflicted with adversities, the more surely our fellowship with Christ is confirmed.”
Finally, we must strive to imitate Jesus—His qualities, speech and actions—as His apostles urged (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6). By so doing we will become progressively like Him, which is God’s ultimate purpose for His children.