Earlier this week my wife Lynn and I were traveling and I had a specific destination in mind. That’s not always the case with me, sometimes I just wander for the sake of wandering. On this particular day however, I knew where I wanted to go. When I do wander, and everyone who wanders is not lost, I don’t mind taking in the sights, making stops along the way, whatever strikes me as a good idea at the time. The art of wandering is perfected by being open to letting the byways entice you. When there is a destination in mind though, one must stay on track, miles covered and the hours spent doing it matter.
As I was reading in Psalm 17 this morning in the Remedy, a paraphrase I really like, verses 14 & 15 made me think about driving and how important a destination sometimes is. Those verses read as follows
O Lord, by your power deliver me from the spiritually-incurable, from those who are terminal in selfishness — who live only for this world. May their lives be filled with what their hearts desire. They are satisfied by having their children and leaving their wealth to their descendants. As for me, I will be reborn; in sinless perfection I will see your face: when I awake, I will be satisfied to be just like you!
When it comes to allowing for the transformation of our lives by the Holy Spirit helping us to become more Christlike, we need to have a destination in mind. These verses speak directly to the fact that if we are not intentional, that transformation can become waylaid by the cares of this world. It notes that our families, and wealth building can become the focus. These and other things, not even necessarily bad things can distract us from the goal. They can entice us away from the originally intended destination. We can easily become absorbed with the events happening in our country these days, the coronavirus, the stock market and our 401k, etc. The problem with such things is not that they are all evil, but that they can keep us from being focused on what is truly important. The Psalmist goes on to say though that would not be the case for Him. He would remain true to the goal, he wouldn’t allow the destination to change. He wrote that He would keep first things first, He would not let good be the enemy of excellent, and he would press further toward the goal of being reborn, being perfected, and finding ultimate satisfaction in being Christlike.
When I was a young boy of about 12 years of age, my grandfather would let me drive the car on farm lanes. One frequented lane went past a mill pond with a water fall and then the stream ran under the roadway. As I was driving down that scenic lane one day the waterfall got my attention and the car began to veer toward that side of the road. Grandpa grabbed the wheel and told me to stop. I applied the brake put the car in park and at his request looked him in the eye while he gave me the following piece of advice. He said, “Ken if you don’t watch where you’re going, you’ll end up going where you are watching”. I have never forgotten that advice, in fact when I recall it even now I hear it in his voice, and I am 12 years old again looking at him as he recounts it for me. It was real good advice then and it still is today.
If we are to become Christlike, we must make that the destination of our lives. We will never wander into being good representations of who Christ is, we have to be intentional about it. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying we make ourselves Christlike, that is certainly the work of the Holy Spirit indwelling us. We do however, have to be diligent and not allow the distractions of life to keep us from being open to that all important transformation. As the Psalmist tells us we mustn’t allow the cares of this world to have us so occupied that we aren’t living our lives with an eternal mindset. If Christlikeness is the destination, we must pay great attention to what gets us there and less attention to the things that don’t. After all, If we don’t watch where we’re going, we will end up going where we are watching.