Thursday, 9/20/18 – Discipleship: Freedom!

20180919_080157Here I am back in July of 2007 soaking wet on the summit of Mt. Head. The rugged journey which got me here was at this point only half completed.

20180919_095721Mt. Head is located midway between Mt. Carleton and Mt. Sagamook in northern New Brunswick’s Mount Carleton Provincial Park. The only way to get to it and the only way to come from it is from the summits of either of these two mountains. If you are going to get to Mt. Head you must commit to ascending and descending three mountain peaks, each approximately 8/10ths a kilometer high over some 12 to 15km of rocky terrain.

We set out from the Mt. Carleton side under a partly cloudy early morning sky following the blue and white markers along what at first was an easy uphill path. After about 3 km though the climb got steeper, rockier and more challenging. By the time we reached the first summit the sky had grown overcast.

There were two marked routes down the mountain: an easy descent down a dried riverbed led back to the base of Mt. Carleton, while the other more rugged led the way to Mts. Head and Sagamook. We chose the latter and hoped the sky might clear. It didn’t.

By the summit of Mt. Head we were completely drenched! I remember how my jeans, weighted down with water, needed to be pulled up constantly! On The descent of Mount Head I slipped on rocks and fell nine times – yes, I counted them! It had gotten to be quite comical — a little slapstick relief that spurred us along despite the ruggedness of the trail and the tiredness of our bodies!

By the summit of Mount Sagamook we just wanted this ordeal to be over! The rain had not let up at all and ahead of us yet lay a final 3 km of rocky, slippery descent. We pressed on as quickly as safety would allow, driven mostly by the thought of getting clean, dry and fed!

We made it down without incident by late afternoon and almost immediately — wouldn’t you know it — the sun came out! Soon we were indeed clean, dry and very well-fed!

20180919_101225As we sat around a campfire that evening we reminisced of the rugged day we had just completed. It felt good now to be refreshed clean, contented, and know that we had accomplished something very difficult. I was probably a better man for it — for not having given up and taken the easy riverbed route down from the summit of Mount Carleton… for having pressed on. Perhaps this is one reason God allows this life to be so difficult.

Our Creator has made us unique above the angels. He has endowed us with free will — the freedom to choose whom we will serve, the freedom to choose the broad way or the narrow way. In Christ we have the freedom to choose the right over the wrong. We have the freedom to face temptations and say ‘no’ or say ‘yes.’ We can choose courage over cowardice, love over hate, faith over fear. This power has been given to us and will not be taken from us.

“Why doesn’t God just make us perfect?” asks Owen on pg 25 of the First Steps workbook. Well, that’s exactly what He is doing! And the struggles of this life are one way he intends to accomplish it while still allowing us the freedom to choose all along the journey. When we choose rightly, when we choose what pleases Him and is best for us, He also gives us the ability. As our workbook defines “Freedom is the ability to do what you ought, not the right to do what you want.” (p.23)

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started

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