I stand again at the fork in the road. One leads within and one without.
The outer pathway leads to the familiar – I’ve trod this pathway many times before.
It’s easy to navigate, with plenty of pit stops. All signs say it was built with me in mind. I love it’s promise of liberty.
I can do what I want, when I want – and be comfortable to boot. I dawdle here, stopping to pick up bits of satisfaction all along the way.
Yet, each time I satisfy one passion, another screams for attention. One desire spawns another until I’m not sure what I really want anymore. I eat, or sleep, or shop or surf – all to escape the cacophony. But the gnawing seems only to grow. The more I get, the more I want. My needs remain unmet and yet, I anxiously crave for more.
“Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” (James 3:15-16)
And then I remember the fork.
This inner pathway leads only to the unseen.
When I walk this path, I realize that I’m not the main figure here, but He is. It is not my will, my desire, my wants – but His that is being manifested along this road. I am not central.
The longer I walk here, the more distant the view of the outer road becomes. When I keep looking ahead, I see more of His Kingdom, both beyond and before, while noticing less and less the mess that is “me”.
Along the inner path, I am not alone with my fear. Because He is with me, I shall not want. The cessation of desire is the true pathway of joy and peace. In giving Him my desires, they gradually decline over time. I find myself with the desires of my heart because that desire is Singular.
So today, again, I choose the unseen way. Even as I begin, I am timid, because it is indeed the road less traveled. I cling to the promise of His Presence and ask that He guide my weak and feeble steps.
“The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:17-18).
Which way will you choose?
See those red pod things sprouting off the tree bark? Know what that is?
It’s the seeds of the cacao tree. Or in layman’s terms: the beginnings of chocolate.
Honestly, it’s very odd looking. Like no tree I had ever seen before. All around the bark of this fairly large tree, there are outgrowths of blooms which, five months after blooming, finally become “chocolate pods”.
Now what if one of the pods decided to worry about the placement of its sprout?
“This is not going to produce,” it might fret. “I shouldn’t be growing here on the side of the trunk but further up, on the limbs with the leaves.”
“This doesn’t feel right and it’s taking forever. I’m never going to produce chocolate down here. When I look at the other trees, I can tell that none of their seed pods are sprouting onto the bark.”
Let’s say that our seed pod became so worried about its effectiveness that he began to pray, “Lord, change me so that I can be more fruitful. Help me be the best cacao seed that I can be. Move me into the place of effectiveness where I can be the best tasting chocolate anyone has ever had.”
Pretty ridiculous, huh?
Of course, God sprouted the pod where He purposed and has already given it all it needs to be produce the chocolate seed.
Yet, how often do we pray just such a prayer?
“Lord, make me more patient. Give me more joy. Change me to be more loving. Grant me to look like Christ.”
Sometimes, I have even prayed, “Lord move me into another situation, so that I can be more effective for You.”
Not much different than our little pod, huh?
The fact is:
If you have made Him Lord, then you are already in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). He has us right where He wants us to be….doing the very mundane thing that will best please Him right now. A change in our situation or in our feelings isn’t going to revise His opinion of us at all and won’t make us “more holy.”
Our problem is that we spend way too much time looking at our branch and far too little time looking at the Vine.
Relaxing into His Truth about us is far more fruit-producing than worrying about it.
Let’s open our eyes and see the accomplished fact: our old life (that we can so easily still remember and even fearfully dread) has actually and in finality vanished from within us (2 Corinthians 5:17). The only life surging within us right now is that of Christ’s (Galatians 2:20). The fact that your actions don’t always bear testimony to that fact is of no consequence to God (Romans 8:1). Your duality doesn’t affect Him one bit. He purposely left us that way.
When we flub up, we are to just tell Him we are sorry and go on. Dwelling on it simply take our eyes off Him and puts them onto ourselves.
We decrease in order that He may increase (John 3:30). What could be a better diminishing plan than one that involves daily dealing with our inadequacies?
He’s relaxed with you. Relax about yourself.