Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 3, 2011

rest stop

With my journey glasses on, I view the traveling adventures of people every day. Observation has taught me that, by percentage, very few are commuting on a joyful trip. For a variety of reasons, daily circumstances tend to override the capacity we have for joy. It is understandable that someone without a relationship with Christ would be frustrated as they are traveling alone. But for those who have entered by faith into the family of God, why doesn’t the traveling contain more joy? If you agree that your journey could use a boost, let’s pull over at a rest stop for encouragement.

For the most part, it is impossible for us to control the external circumstances that invade our lives each week. Have you noticed how often your weekly travels have taken you over one mountain, just to find another looming ahead? And while there are certainly stretches of smooth, flat miles, for the most part the terrain of life is tough.

But, as you leave this rest stop soon to continue your journey, begin with a new perspective that external circumstances will never give you true joy on the journey. Disciplining ourselves to create strategies for internal growth is vital. Nothing on the outside will ever satisfy our internal longings. The people that surround us, the culture we live in, or the activities we fill our lives with, will never give us lasting journey joy. Take a few minutes, and let the words of II Corinthians encourage you to look inward to buffer the externals of life.

II Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)
So we’re not giving up. How could we!
Even though on the outside it often looks
like things are falling apart on us, on
the inside, where God is making new life,
not a day goes by without His unfolding
grace. These hard times are small potatoes
compared to the coming good times, the
lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s
far more here than meets the eye. The
things that we see now are here today,
gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t
see now will last forever.

For a moment, honestly evaluate your recent internal growth through the nourishment of his Word. Is it fresh and “green”, or might it be a bit dry and brittle? God wants you to enjoy the new growth that He alone can provide. If He is willing to make us strong internally and unfold His grace in our lives, we must let the nutrients of His Word soak in through our tough outer layer. Our daily doses of nourishment and light are essential to create the strength that stands firm in defense against the attack of those external circumstances that we can’t control, but we know will come.

Journey joy is simple. Give time and priority to rest stops, and know the Word. As you turn onto that entry ramp and return to your journey, apply what He has taught you and watch Him do what only He can do.  He knows when you will need the miracle, or maybe just some encouragement for the next mile. Remember, there is a lavish celebration prepared for all who know Christ.

Don’t traverse another mile without seeking Him first.

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