I love walking my dogs every day. But, many days walking against the wind takes the joy out of the journey. One thing that makes living in SW Kansas unique is the frequent, fierce wind. I asked a lifelong resident of Elkhart if they have ever gotten used to he winds. He responded, “Nope! Never!”
I read this week about temptation. The devotion said, ‘The same wind that blew at your back on your way to Hell, will blow in your face on your way to Heaven.’ I don’t think I’ll ever get used to walking against the wind on my way to Heaven. In fact, some days walking against the wind of the world takes some of the joy out of the journey and requires faithful discipline.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4
Walking against the winds of the culture and the ways of the world can bring a variety of character building events. Character building events at face value can steal the joy out of the journey. But James instructs us to put such ‘into-the-wind moments’ in the column of joy. With Divine help and Divine perspective we can do this, because we are promised that such a journey will produce steadfastness. And steadfastness will complete us such that we lack nothing. In other words, there is much promised and much to gain by walking into the winds of trials and temptations. Those gains will fit us with tools that complete us and grant us real joy.
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith – Heb 12:1-2
We call this journey of walking against the wind, the pursuit of holiness. And the Bible is clear that this pursuit requires two things. First it requires endurance. When every step is against the wind, it is tempting to quit, take a short cut, or do a 180 and walk with the wind. It is a matter of discipline, determination and persistence to gain the steadfastness required to claim God’s promises.
Second, it requires God’s help. We must be looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Living separated from the ways of the world and counting it as joy, requires that we have our eyes consistently on the Lord. We cannot be distracted. We cannot look around for options or alternatives. We must stay connected to Jesus as we take one purposeful step after another.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. . . . Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:2-3, 23-26
It is easy to envy those with the wind at their backs. But the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction. With joy, let us all press forward against the wind to gain all the eternal benefits.