Last night I went cross country skiing for the first time in ages. No, I never left my home in central Alabama, but I was taken back to a time not so many years ago that I reveled in the joy and beauty of putting on layers of clothing that could be shed as needed, putting on my ski boots, and snapping the toe of the boot into the bindings on my skis.
The adventure last night was but a reflection to a time when getting out on the trails was a regular activity for me when I still lived in the cold northern winters. We had plenty of snow and groomed trails that you could use for very little money if not free.
Once on the trail if you were a classic skier who enjoys kick and gliding, you sought out a groomed trail that had two parallel tracks in the snow where you would kick with one leg back which propelled the other leg forward, then reverse the action and kick with the other leg propelling the former kicking leg to glide forward as well. The alternating kicking and gliding effort would move you forward down the track carved in the snow as you made your way through beautiful snowy wonder.
Help me stay on the path of your commands, for I take pleasure in it.
Psalm 119:35 (CSB)
Those trails were the designated area’s skiers were instructed to use to make their way down the trail. If for some reason you wanted to go somewhere other than where the trail directed you, you might have to break off the trail and shift your technique to more of a backcountry style, either breaking new tracks off the main trail or using a V stride to navigate forward.
Whenever I found myself getting off the groomed trail and away from the tracks that had been set in the snow for me It always required greater effort and used up my energy much faster than kicking and gliding in the classic style on the groomed trail. It wasn’t long before I was ready to get back on the trail that was designated for me. I was always glad I was back and progressing forward at a much quicker and smoother pace.
You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.
Psalm 16:11 (CSB)
In our walk as Disciples of Jesus, he has provided a groomed trail before us. We are not familiar with the trail, because we’ve never traveled this way before. Our optimum path is this trail before us. While we may see things along the way that may appear interesting and tempt us to deviate from that trail, if we do so, we do at our own peril.
What we will ultimately find is that the effort is going to be greater, the progress will be slowed, and our energy will be consumed by having to forge our own path.
Likewise, when returning to the groomed trail, brings relief, because of the much greater ease in which we are able to glide forward in the direction that we are intended to be going.
You have revealed the paths of life to me; you will fill me with gladness in your presence.
Acts 2:28 (CSB)
Jesus who we have committed to follow has groomed a trail for us. He has made a way for us through the forests, hills, and valleys of this life that lay before us. We have not been here before. We have no idea where this trail leads us through, but we have a map in our hand that shows us the ultimate destination this trail will take us. As the ‘Good Groomer’, he has laid out the trail specifically for us, that may not be where we always think we want to be going, but it is the way by which he intends for us to go.
He renews my life; he leads me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Psalms 23:3 (CSB)
He’s made this path for us, renewing our lives and strength to kick and glide down this trail in accordance with his will. He does this for his name’s sake. He is our God. He is our Lord. He is the Good Shepperd and the master groomer of the trail.
Yesterday morning I sat in church and listen to our pastor give his sermon. I felt a bit embarrassed about the grin that was on my face.
The topic was a sharp rebuke for anyone that was off the groomed trails, which the Lord had made for them. But for anyone that was gliding as they should be on the track Jesus had laid before them, this was a joy. What pastor said was faithful to God’s Word. If one was abiding in the grace and direction that Christ had placed before them, they were filled with joy. No doubt those who had shifted to backcountry techniques were feeling the sting of pushing forward outside the trail groomed for them.
So follow the way of the good, and keep to the paths of the righteous.
Proverbs 2:20 (CSB)
Furthermore, we are never in the dark when we remain on the prepared trail either.
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105 (CSB)
Walk as a Disciple of Jesus Christ should. Remain on the trail he has groomed specifically for each of us individually. Despite distraction and temptations ‘Stay on the Path!’
In His Grace,