I love trail running! I’ll run established routes, but show me a hiking trail in the mountains and I’ll want to tackle it every time! But there are risks… I’ve taken some nasty falls! Rocks, roots of trees, a momentary distraction and “bam” – your body is tumbling toward the ground and you’re doing your best to land in a way that minimizes injury! Fortunately, I’ve never broken a bone or had a concussion, but I’ve gotten scraped up a bit and had to get up, brush myself off, and run back home with blood running down my leg or arm. Gotta pay attention when you do trail running! It’s no time to ignore the trail and become preoccupied with the scenery!
Living the Christian life victoriously in a sin dominated, pagan culture is a lot like trail running! Apostle Paul put it this way…
“Be very careful, then, how you live [the Greek word for live is “peripateo” and literally could be translated “how you walk about”] – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus.
So here’s a summary of Paul’s suggestions for successfully living the Christian life in evil days…
- Care is needed – stay alert to the risks along the pathway!
- Wisdom is needed that takes advantage of every opportunity God gives you!
- Don’t stumble along blindly – inform yourself of God’s will and do it!
- Don’t participate in anything that makes you less than aware and alert to spiritual and moral danger (especially alcohol or drugs)!
- Stay full of the Holy Spirit (in fact “walk in the Spirit!” – cp. Romans 8:1-8; Galatians 5:16, 25)
- Build yourself and other Christians up with authentic, heartfelt worship!
- Have an “attitude of gratitude” – “give thanks to God for EVERYTHING!”
Hey, be careful on the trail! I’ll be out there “running the race with patience” (Hebrews 12:1-2) and I’ll be watching for you!