Friday, January 13, 2012

The Path Before Us

I printed a couple of paragraphs from an article by John Tvednes and posted it near my computer where I can look at it frequently. I'll share it:

"In 1 Corinthians 16:13 Paul suggests that we not allow ourselves even the tiniest divergence from the path (the track) laid out before us. I have at times envisioned the strait and narrow path as a strait and narrow hallway. Far away, in a blaze of incandescent light stands a being of incomprehensible glory before an open door. (See Revelation 3:7-8)

But all along the hall are other doors, designed with Satanic ingenuity to draw us aside. Those doors are switch points. David's door had Bathsheba's picture on it. Absalom's door had a crown. the rich young ruler entered a door to a room full of wealth. The prodigal son found a portal marked "Freedom."

Cain found the door to his brother's flocks. The image is instructive. We know that we must endure to the end, but Satan knows that as well. He reaches out to us with his flaxen cords, with his mild poison, and he leads us away from the open door and "carefully down to hell." We must not allow ourselves to be misled at the switch points. Our destination is eternal lives and the everlasting presence of God, and nowhere else." (John Tvednes)

I love the images this conjures up. What are switch points in my life that could entice me from the glorious light at the end of the hall? We are never too old to be tempted away from our personal goals and even habits that have been ingrained for years can be changed. Case in point: I have been an early morning scripture studier for more years than I can count. Prayers and scripture study are first on my list of things to do every day followed by journal, read an article in the Ensign, a chapter in some book on writing, supplemental reading for the SS lesson, practicing the hymns on the organ for the following Sunday and looking over the Laurel lesson I will teach. These are the first things on the Daily Planner I devised (and continually revise and update.)

Since I get up at 4:00 every morning, I can complete all of these plus checking e-mail by 6:00. But if I have company or we are traveling, those things don't happen. Catching up when I get home or company leaves becomes burdensome, and suddenly my habits of years have been disrupted and these important things put aside. Since there are always more things to do than time to do them, if I start on the other things first, I never get back to these important items.

I guess my enticing doors are cleaning out boxes of genealogy, playing with photographs and making Shutterfly books, sorting through Family History pictures. All, of course, good and worthwhile projects, but not at the expense of my spiritual growth and development. Setting priorities and keeping them in proper order isn't easy, but definitely the way to stay on the path to where we ultimately want and need to go.

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. From my experience, I can say it takes 7 days or less to break one. Conclusion: We need to keep our eyes EVERY HOUR of every day on that path and make sure we don't digress into little garden gates or hallway doors that look tempting for the moment. The moment can too easily become a lifetime.

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