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Don’t Go Down the Wrong Road

May 1, 2011 by Kim

As I indicated in previous posts, my backpacking trip provided me with lots of spiritual illustrations like this one.

The trails at Isle Royale are maintained so as to allow hikers and backpackers into some beautiful remote areas of the island without unnecessarily disturbing the natural flora and fauna. The island does have some mountains, the highest of which is Mount Desor at 1,205 feet. Because the terrain is composed of mountains and valleys, the trails have inclines and declines that vary from gentle to steep. To keep the trails dry for hikers and to prevent erosion, the maintenance crews build diversions into them to direct the water off of the trails. To build a diversion, the crew imbeds logs or rocks into the trail at an angle to direct the water downhill and away from the trail. As time goes by, these logs and rocks begin to be covered with leaves, dirt and debris, and when hiking downhill, the diversions can look deceptively like the trail. Due to nature of backpacking, a person tends to bend slightly forward to balance the weight of the pack and to keep from toppling over backwards. The affect this has is to cause you to focus on the ground directly ahead, instead of further down the trail. The combined effect of these two factors makes it easy to go astray and follow a diversion when hiking downhill.  To avoid these mistakes and having to backtrack, you have to force yourself to keep looking further ahead down the trial so you recognize which is the trail, and which is the diversion.

In our daily lives as Christians, we face diversions that can get us off the right road and heading down the wrong road. This happens when we focus on earthly, temporal things, rather than on Christ and that which is eternal. 2 Cor. 4:18. It is because we are looking directly in front, being short sighted, rather than looking down the road of life with an eternal perspective. We need to be on our guard daily, looking for the right path and avoiding the diversions.

What are some things that can lead you and I astray?

 1. Weaknesses.

 Hebrews 5

1Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.

Each of us needs to take stock of our weaknesses and set up safeguards to help us avoid being led astray through them. 2 Tim. 2:22 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace…” We need to run from temptation and to godly pursuits.

 2. Lack of Wisdom

 Proverbs 20

1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;
whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

How are you intentionally adding to your wisdom so that you are not deceived by the temptations of sin? Sometimes Christians are satisfied with the status quo. Or, they think somehow they will grow and become better Christians by just reading the Bible or listening to a good sermon. The goal of Bible study and the goal of preaching sermons are to change our lives to be more Christ like. We need to be intentional in our Christian lives. If you wanted to become a teacher you would need to have a plan that would include university studies, student teaching, applying for a job etc. We understand that we need to be intentional to prepare for and acquire an occupation or trade. Are we that intentional in our Christian lives?

 2 Peter 1:3-9

 3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

3. People may be a diversion and intentionally try to lead you astray.

 1 John 2:25-27

25 And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

 Two things that will help us to avoid this diversion are staying in tune with the Holy Spirit who indwells believers, and remaining in Christ.

 4. People may lead you astray by their poor examples.

 Galatians 2:12-14 (an example of Peter’s hypocrisy.)

"Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray."

Barnabas was a real encourager and Peter’s example was so influential that Barnabas was caught up in his bad behavior.

5. Failure to obey God’s Word will lead you astray.

 Psalm 119:66-68

66Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
for I believe in your commands.

67Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.

68 You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees.

The implication in verse 67 is that the Psalmist had not been obeying God’s word, but began to after he was afflicted and went astray.

These are only a few of the many things that can lead us astray in our walk with Christ. Just as a backpacker has to be vigilant to keep from going astray, so do we as Christians.

1 Peter 5:8 says Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.


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