Imagine yourself hiking down a trail towards a mountain in the distance. As you approach the base of the mountain you notice the trail branches off into two trails. One is a well-worn path. It seems relatively flat, circling around the base of the mountain towards the other side. The other trail, much less traveled by the looks of the overgrowth, slopes gently up the mountainside. As you peer into the distance you notice the trail angles upward into a steep climb over rocks and boulders.
Which path will you choose?
Before you answer the question there are a few things to think about…
The trail is your journey through life…
Your goal as a follower of Jesus is spiritual growth…
Spiritual growth is found at the very top of the mountain…
Which will you choose now?
The only path to your desired destination of spiritual growth is through the steep climb. It takes a daily commitment to Jesus to reach your goal. And that daily commitment isn’t easy. It requires you to seek God’s Kingdom first every day–to resist temptation, read your Bible, pray, tithe, forgive, and be the salt and light we are called to be.
That’s why the climb to spiritual growth is always steep. Spiritual growth is at the top of the mountain because it is the climb itself that creates the spiritual growth.
In Luke 14:25 large crowds were following Jesus. He took that opportunity to say something very controversial. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple.”
Certainly Jesus wants us to love our parents, our spouses, our children, and our siblings. He also does not want us to take our own lives because we hate them.
So what then was Jesus talking about?
The key to understanding His point is context.
Large crowds were following him. Very large crowds. What did they want? To be his disciples. Why else would they be following him?
Jesus knew that although they all wanted to be his disciples, few would make the necessary commitment. Few would do what it took.
So in his way with his words, Jesus was saying if you want to be my disciple, you must make me number one in your life. I must be most important to you. I must be your priority.
Hence the path to spiritual growth in your relationship with Jesus always leads up the steep mountain path of daily commitment.
Many followers of Jesus try to achieve spiritual growth by walking down the trail which leads around the mountain. It does not work. It results in a mediocre Christian life without the spiritual growth you desire.
Later in the passage Jesus issued a warning about this. In Luke 14:34-35 He said, “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Let’s not let that be us…
What can you do today to take one step up the steep path of daily commitment?
The secret is it only takes one step a day. One step…every day…that is all it takes.
How do you climb a mountain? Every day take one step up the mountain. You will reach the top sooner than you think.
So, my friend, count the cost. If you are willing to devote yourself to the rigorous pursuit of spiritual growth, a bountiful harvest of priceless value awaits you.
Just remember that you must make a commitment. One day…one step…one step…one day.