Spiritual Pathways

On the one hand, spiritual gateways provide openings for spiritual forces—good and evil—to touch our lives. Some gateways may open the door for Satan and his demonic hordes to enter our “home” and act like unwelcome squatters. Other gateways create openings for Christ and the Holy Spirit to touch us and shape us deeply. We should be very careful about the former and very intentional about the latter. More often than not we unintentionally welcome the unholy and forgo the godly.

Circuit BoardOn the other hand, spiritual pathways are not merely “openings” but the habits and patterns that we develop. Pathways are more than a momentary vulnerability. They are the roads that we walk down over and over again. As such, they become deeply ingrained within us; ways of thinking, ways of responding, ways of viewing others and responding to them. They form deep grooves in our souls.

To use marriage as an example—couples frequently form pathways; unconscious (but consistent) routines and responses. Ever had those moments when you knew what your partner was going to say before they said it? Or found yourselves thinking about the same thing at the same moment? Or finishing each other’s sentences in a gentle, fluid kind of way?

Spiritual pathways function much the same way.

The spiritual disciplines have arisen over the centuries as more of a pathway than a gateway. They seldom function well in a one-off manner. Rather, they re-wire us over time. Just as a single date with someone cannot produce soul-intimacy, so an occasional spiritual practice falls short with God, too. Consistency forms pathways.

If we are careless with our gateways and deficient with our pathways, we will rarely experience the depths of faith and grace that Christ holds in store for us.

As we consider our spiritual pathways, how clearly can we define them? Have we built a way—guided by the Holy Spirit—to live “the Way”? Has it become effortless and profoundly meaningful?

We would do well to identify the gateways. We would do equally well—or better—to build some pathways.

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6 Responses to Spiritual Pathways

  1. Tim Ross says:

    I have found that I have developed ruts in some of my relationships. These ruts are my snap responses out of anger. The car or wagon easily slips right back into those ruts and can almost not get out of them which leads to more negative interaction. As I allow God to replow my roads or pathways, He erases the ruts and provides smooth ground to move over…free of ruts. The more time I spend in prayer and meditation on His word, the more He replows the roads.

  2. Janet and Ian says:

    I was reading Hebrews 2 this morning ‘We must pay careful attention………. so that we do not drift away’, when the word ‘drift’ jumped out at me and made me sit up and take notice. How easily we drift away from God. It takes no effort, it’s passive, it’s natural (for our flesh nature). As you say we ‘drift’ by leaving the godly pathways we’ve carved out over the years. A little relaxing in our prayer time, a short time of allowing our Bibles to gather dust. Slowly we find our desire to be with other believers wanes, slowly we find our desire for God has diminished. Thank you David, for your timely reminder that we need to build pathways. ‘Straining towards that which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus’. It means swimming against the tide of ourselves and our society, it’s active and at times tiring. But oh, the rewards, the sweet aroma of our Lord, His loving presence in our lives. A timely message when the busyness of Christmas so easily obliterates the very reason we celebrate. Praying you all will have a Christ filled Christmas.

  3. David Mack says:

    Dr. Timms,I thought it might bless you to now we are currently journeying through “Living the Lord’s Prayer” with about 20 guys at Mountainview Christian Church, Gresham, OR. Thank you for all the wisdom & grace you continue to impart.God bless you & yours,David Mack

    • David Timms says:

      David, thanks for your kind note. If there’s anything I can do to support you and the guys in your study, just let me know. It’s been a life-shaping prayer for me. Blessings, my friend.

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