I love how Jesus used parables to teach. Some parables are easier to understand than others. The easiest way for me to learn about and understand principles, especially biblical ones, is through analogies. So, today, I want to use an analogy to teach the principle “reaping and sowing.” Here goes……..
Several years ago I was driving down 1-95 and, yes, I was talking on my cell phone when I drove right past the exit for I-20. Before I knew it, I started seeing signs telling me I-26 was only 20 miles away. I looked at the clock and realized two things. First, I had missed my exit and, second, I was not going to make it to Columbia in time for a wedding. I was sick to my stomach!
I was headed back from the beach and instead of taking 1-20 towards Columbia…I just kept on driving right past the exit. That’s what happens when we miss our exit or take the wrong road. Often times when we miss our exit we have to turn around and backtrack. Fortunately for me, after going miles out of the way, I just went towards I-26 and took that exit back towards home…even though I had gone WAY OUT OF THE WAY…and it caused me to miss the wedding.
In life we do the same thing. We make the wrong decision (take the wrong road) either intentionally or unintentionally and we either miss out (suffer) or we have to backtrack. I had NO one to blame but me for missing the exit. In life, when we take the “wrong road” or “miss the exit,” often times we don’t stop to think it may take time or many miles.…especially if we have to “turn around” and backtrack….in order to get back to the “right exit.”
So often our expectations from ourselves, others or God are quite different from reality. Even when we take the wrong road or miss our exit and we are forced to re-route, we think we should have shortcuts. It shouldn’t take as long or as many miles. We think that realizing we are on the wrong road or we have missed the exit is enough. It shouldn’t cost us time or consequences to get back on the right road. And, once we get back to the right road, we shouldn’t have the same amount of time to travel down the road we intended to be on in order to get to our intended destination. Stop and think about that for a minute.
NOTE: when we miss our exit in life or get on the wrong road, there is always a “time factor” of cost involved and sometimes we miss out all together. Often the “time we spend on the wrong road, headed in the wrong direction” takes years to backtrack.
When it takes years, we don’t take into account that while we were on the “wrong road” that maybe the road back had changed…there could be road construction,
a bad wreck on the way back,
or road closed!
Being on the wrong road in life can be VERY, VERY costly and often, by the time we realize it, there is no way to get back to our intended destination. We have gone way too far out of the way.
Scripture says, ”With God all things are possible.” and that is true. Scripture also teaches “without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE TO please God.” And scripture teaches that “We will reap what we sow.” Just like we pick our roads and God gives us free will, we pick our sins…but we can’t pick our consequences. For example, some roads we choose can cause others around us immense pain. While we are on that wrong road, and while others may willingly forgive, they don’t have the ability to forget or get rid of the scars left by the “road choices” we made.
So the intent of my post and points are these: First, when we miss our exit or willingly choose a WRONG ROAD, God always forgives when we ask. He has the supernatural ability to forget as we are told in Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Humans do not possess this ability.
Second, what does the word of God say about picking the “right roads?” It says so much and we know God’s word is our GPS for life. Consider this simple but rich scripture, written by Paul, found in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the RENEWAL of YOUR MIND, that by TESTING you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” [emphasis added].
I love Paul who was once called “Saul.” He, of all people, was on a VERY WRONG Road. He killed Christians and stood by watching and approving the stoning of Stephen. While on that wrong road, the Damascus Road, God confronted him with the horrible direction in which he was heading. Scripture doesn’t tell us if people were praying for Saul to change. We don’t know all the details but we can learn from what we do know and we see that it applies to all of us.
God can take the terrible path WE have chosen and, if we humble ourselves toward HIM, can put us on a path that can be rewarding, restoring, and resurrecting. If you study the life of Saul/Paul, he did suffer. It took a temporary, GROPING “BLINDNESS” to redirect his life GPS. His sight was restored and his life made a dramatic turnaround. God equipped him for his life mission which included renewing his mind and leading many to Christ. Those things did happen but not without great suffering. It didn’t bring back all those he had murdered or those who suffered at his hand while he was on the “WRONG ROAD.”
So I encourage you with this…READ God’s word daily. His desire is…for us to RENEW our MINDS. To blind us temporarily if HE has to in order to redirect us. For us not to love the world or anything in it BUT To love Him with all our hearts, soul and minds. At that point, He can take over, redirect and make things new again but we must never forget–there are miles to travel back (the law of reaping and sowing) to get to the right exit. We cannot get angry with God when the natural consequence of our “wrong road” takes us years and miles to get back to the “right road.” God does promise He will never leave or forsake us….but he DOES NOT PROMISE there will never be consequences or suffering.
Make today count…”The longer it takes you to admit you’ve taken the wrong road, the longer it takes you to get on the RIGHT one!”