Chapter OneLife Is a Journey
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they
may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it
I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing as tragic as being alive and
not enjoying life. I wasted much of my own life because I did not know how to
enjoy where I was while I was on the way to where I was going.
Life is a journey. Everything in it is a process. It has a beginning, a middle
and an end. All aspects of life are always developing. Life is motion. Without
movement advancement and progression, there is no life. Once a thing has ceased
to progress, it is dead.
In other words, as long as you and I are alive, we are always going to be going
somewhere. We are created by God to be goal-oriented visionaries. Without a
vision, we atrophy and become bored and hopeless. We need to have something to
reach for, but in the reaching toward what lies ahead in the future, we must not
lose sight of now!
I see this principle in every area of life, but let us examine Just one of those
Let's say an unsaved Person who has no relationship with God becomes aware that
something is missing in his life and so he starts searching. The Holy Spirit
draws him to the place where he is confronted with making a decision about
placing his faith in Christ. He accepts Him and then moves from the place of
searching for an unknown something to discovering what or who that something is.
In so doing, he enters a temporary place of satisfaction and fulfillment.
Please notice that I said temporary, because soon the Holy Spirit will begin
drawing him to press on to a deeper place in God. The process of conviction of
sin will begin in his daily life. The Holy Spirit is the Revealer of truth (John
14:16,17), and He works continually in and with the believer to bring him into
new levels of awareness. Entering a new level always means leaving an old one
In other words, we are always heading somewhere spiritually, and we should be
enjoying the journey. Seeking God's will for our lives - allowing Him to deal
with us about attitudes and issues, desiring to know His call on our lives and
yearning to fulfill it - all these things are part of the journey of
"Desiring" and "seeking" are words we will use frequently in this study, and
both of them indicate that we cannot stay where we are. We must move on!
However, this is precisely the point at which multitudes of us lose our
enjoyment of life.
We must learn to seek the next phase in our journey without despising or
belittling the one in which we currently find ourselves.
In my own spiritual pilgrimage, I finally learned to say, "I'm not where I need
to be, but thank God, I'm not where I used to be. I'm okay, and I'm on my way!"
The spiritual struggle that most of us go through would be almost totally
alleviated if we understood the principle being discussed on these pages.
The Ben Campbell Johnson relational paraphrase of Jesus' words in Matthew 11:29
gives some insight into what our attitude should be concerning our personal
spiritual growth. It reads as follows: "Take the burden of responsibility I give
you and thereby discover your life and your destiny. I am gentle and humble; I
am willing to relate to you and to permit you to learn at your own rate; then,
in fellowship with me, you will discover the meaning of your life"
Notice that in this passage Jesus says, "Take the burden of responsibility I
give you ." Many of us take a responsibility the Lord has never given us. We
actually try to become "Holy Ghost, Jr." Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to
work the Word in us and change us from glory to glory, or from degree to degree
(2 Cor. 3:18), we try to do it on our own. We struggle so hard trying to get to
the next place we feel we need to be that we fail to enjoy where we are.
We absolutely must realize the importance of each phase. Each phase is vital to
the next one. For instance, a child cannot be two years old until he has lived
each of the days between the ages of one and two. Wherever it is we are headed,
we are not going to get there any faster than God takes us. We must learn to do
our part and trust God to help us enjoy the journey.
I believe I change daily. I have goals in every area of my life. I desire
improvement in all things. This time next year I will be different from what I
am now. Various things in my life, family and ministry will have improved. But
the good news is that I have discovered the soul-satisfying secret of enjoying
where I am on the way to where I am going.
We might say that there is always something new on the horizon. The Lord showed
me this truth in a vision almost twenty years ago as I was considering enrolling
in a Bible school program sponsored by our church three evenings a week. It was
a major commitment for my husband Dave and me. At the time we had three small
children at home, and yet we felt God calling us to a new level of ministry. I
was excited, but apprehensive.
Once we made the decision, I began to feel that this commitment would be "the
thing" that would make "all" the difference in the world. It seems that we
humans are always looking for "it!"
As I was considering this decision. God gave me a vision of a horizon. My
husband and I were heading toward it, but as we finally came near to it, another
horizon appeared out beyond the first one. It represented yet another place to
reach for once we had arrived at the current one.
As I pondered what I was seeing, the Lord revealed to my heart that there would
constantly be new goals out in front of us. I felt He was telling me not to
think in small terms, not to become narrow-minded, not to make small plans, but
to always be reaching for the next place that would take me beyond where I was.
I regret to say that even though I did the reaching and I was not complacent, it
took several more years before I learned to enjoy each step of the journey.
I was always going somewhere and never truly enjoying anywhere. I was deceived by
thinking that I would have joy when I arrived - that now was only a time of
sacrifice and hard work.
I am very thankful for the Holy Spirit's patient and continuing work with me as
He taught me to enjoy every aspect of my life - the beginning of projects, the
middle and the finish, the people in my life, my home, myself and the ministry
in which God has placed me.
Now, I am as thankful for the rainy days as the sunny ones. I am even thankful
for the time I spend in the airports I wait in because I travel so much . on
and on the list goes.
Once we learn the principle, we can apply it everywhere.
Jesus said that He came that we might have and enjoy life. If you have not been
enjoying your life, it is time to begin. If you have been enjoying your life,
thank God, and look for ways to enjoy it even more.