I’ve mentioned many times before how much I love to go hiking. I can never get enough of being in the outdoors enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. One of my favorite places to hike is along the southern portion of the Appalachian Trail. This footpath begins in the mountains of northern Georgia and ends on the summit of Mt. Katahdin in Maine. I hope to one day thru-hike the entire trail, but so far I’ve only traveled over some of the mileage in Georgia and Tennessee.
Even though the trail is well-worn and relatively easy to follow, the path is marked with blazes on the trees and rocks along the way. Every 100-200 yards, a tree is painted with a six inch white rectangle signifying the direction hikers should travel. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s hard to get lost while hiking the Appalachian Trail and the blazes help to make that possible. It’s comforting to know you have something to keep you on track and headed in the right direction.
For those who have given their lives to Christ, we too have a guide that helps to ensure we stay on the right track. The Holy Spirit is our spiritual guide, helping us along in our walk with God and giving us clear directions to be in alignment with Him. He is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), but He can be counted upon to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). The blazes on the Appalachian Trail are trustworthy. Follow them and you will ultimately reach your destination. Likewise, following the Holy Spirit will help us grow closer to God and ultimately live in heaven with him when Christ returns.
Now, blazes or maps are a great tool to assist us when traveling, but we have to pay attention to them for them to work. Living with the Holy Spirit works the same way. He can urge us in the right direction but we still have free will. We can still decide if we will listen or not. On occasion, it may seem hard to discern if a message is from the Spirit or from our own subconscious desires. In order to hear from the Spirit, we must be ready by not having preconceived ideas floating around in our heads. He will never contradict scripture, so if we follow the teachings in the Bible, we’ll recognize the Spirit’s call. He doesn’t speak in some audible voice or a spectacular spiritual experience. He speaks to our heart through the urgings of the Spirit within us.
As the name of this blog implies, Faith and Footsteps is about walking with God in faith, trusting that our guide has our best interests at heart. It’s about the journey of this life. Just like hiking a long distance trail, we are on this journey for the long haul and we may face distractions and despair along the way at times. That’s why following our Father, the example of Jesus, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit is of utmost importance. It’s the only way we’ll ever find our way home.