It’s not just enjoying a trip to the beach or a scenic drive through the mountains. I want to immerse myself in the environment, to enjoy everything, noticing and savoring the sights and smells and sounds. When I go to Washington state, I love to visit Mt. Rainier and smell the rich scent of the evergreen trees and view the powerful glaciers as they make their slow advance down the flanks of the mountain. When I go to the beach, I love to feel the coolness of the sugar-white sand and inhale the briny smell of the salty air. When I’ve gone hiking in the woods on the Appalachian Trail, I’ve noticed the scattering of the birds and squirrels as they explore the forest floor, the soft trickle of mountain streams cascading over rocks, and the leaves exploding into an abundance of vibrant colors in the Fall.
One thing I’ve noticed is that very few people actually see or experience any of those things. They either miss them because they’re too busy to slow down and take notice, or they never leave their car or the parking lot when they do visit the outdoors. The statistics even bear this out as well. According to a recent report by the U.S. Forest Service, almost 86% of people who visit a wilderness site only use developed facilities such as park roads, overlooks, campgrounds, and visitor centers. And of the tourists who do leave developed areas, most never get any farther away than a half mile. That’s too bad because they have no idea what they’re missing.
If you’ve been a Christian for even a short amount of time then you’ve probably noticed how people have this same mindset towards God and religion in general. Some people are spiritual sightseers, never going any further than attending worship services and somehow thinking they now have a deep relationship with God. I must ask, how can you possibly think you know God if you never immerse yourself in Him? How can you know him and his will for your life if you are not being fed by his word? How can you experience all the goodness God has to offer if you only act like a Christian for a couple of hours one day a week?
People are missing out on so much because they’re satisfied with a surface-level knowledge of God and his love instead of desiring intimacy with him. Like Paul, we should declare that we, “want to know Christ” (Philippians 3:10) and we can only do that if we are willing to learn about him and to make him the center of our entire existence.
Get off the beaten path and explore who God is. Attend worship, read you Bible, pray, serve. Go all in for God and you’ll discover far more about him than you’d ever imagine.