Article by: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
I like to think of my walk with God as a beautiful hike.
God has provided everything I need for the journey, including a detailed map (the Bible) and a patient Guide (the Holy Spirit).
There are peaks and valleys, but so long as I keep moving forward, I will eventually reach my destination.
In fact, we are all on our own unique journey to holiness.
2 Timothy 1:9 says, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.”
He has called us to a holy life, yet oftentimes this holiness seems like a distant peak –daunting and so very far away from where we are.
Making a Plan
“How EXACTLY are we to plan and navigate this personal journey to holiness?”
I’m so glad you asked!
The best part about this whole journey to holiness is the fact that God has promised to equip us for it.
We would be utterly mislaid if not for the promise of Philippians 1:6, “Be confident in this –He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
When you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, He began a good work in you.
That was the first day of your personal journey to holiness (but definitely not your last).We are all on our own journey to holiness, what kind of journeyer will you be?
What kind of journeyer are you going to be?
Will you persevere when the trail gets steep, or will you turn back at the first sign of trouble?
I desire to be a friend on your journey –offering encouragement when the path is narrow and wise counsel when you are tempted to turn back.
Many obstacles will threaten to block our path, but together, we will persevere!
As we learn to rely on our Heavenly Guide and diligently study the Map, we will find strength to overcome every stumbling block that endangers our progress.
Every experienced trekker knows there are three essential steps to planning and executing a successful hike.
Let’s see how these three steps can help us to successfully plan our journey to holiness.
Step 1: Meet at the Trailhead
We must always start WHERE WE ARE and WITH A GOAL IN MIND.Start every journey with a destination in mind.
So, find a trailhead nearby and get started (oh, and bring friends, hiking is always more fun with friends).
1 Peter 1:15-1 says, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
So, our intended destination is holiness. Got it.
Now for the tough part…assessing where we are at.
I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty darn far away from holiness in my everyday life.
Like 100 miles from holiness!
This, my sweet friend, is why I find so much hope in the words of Hebrews 13:20-21, “Now, may the God of peace, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.”
As Rick Yancy once said, “God doesn’t call the equipped, God equips the called.”
So the truth of the matter is this: No matter how unholy we feel at the moment, God has called us to live a holy life and promised to equip us for the journey.God has called us to live a holy life and promised to equip us for the journey.
Step 2: Choose your Trail
However tempting it might be to pick the shortest path, we’ve got to assess the terrain and plan accordingly.
Sometimes the shortest path is straight up a rugged cliff wall.
Our odds of successfully navigating that path are slim to none.
A less direct route is often the wiser choice.
Sure, this indirect path may take longer to navigate but the destination remains the same, and our chances of success increase a hundredfold.
That is exactly how we need to approach our journey to holiness.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8
Step 3: Stick to the Path
This journey to holiness will not be easy, but if we stick to the path, it is possible for us to reach the destination intact.
Our Heavenly Guide has given us detailed instructions for the journey through His Word.
He has laid out a path before us and promised to journey with us.
We must listen to the Guide and follow the Map, for that is the only way to reach our destination intact.
Stick to the path, dear friend!
There are no shortcuts.Three Simple Steps to Guide You on Your Journey to Holiness.
Matthew 7:13 confirms this when it says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”
This journey will not be easy, but if we stick to the path, holiness is attainable.
The goal is progress, not perfection or ease, therefore we must keep moving forward even when it is difficult.The Christian's goal is progress, not perfection.
We must resist the urge to turn back when we stumble and fall, trusting that our loving guide will lift us up and give us the strength to carry on.
And, most importantly, when we find a pretty spot about halfway up the trail, we must resist the urge to stop there!
We must never stop –the destination is worthy of our determination.
I’ve got my hiking boots laced up and I’m ready for the journey, are you?