The Problem Is That It’s Much Harder to Get There if You Don’t Follow It
If you want to go from here to there, maps are a great way to figure out the route you want to take. They can show us the roads to drive, rivers that have to be crossed and mountains that we need to go around.
When giving directions if we say going up, we are referring to North on a map. Going down is South. Up and down directions when using a map aren’t about elevations.
Determining elevations with a map is hard. Even though you can see the drawings of rivers, plains, valleys, and mountains, it’s hard to get the full effect of the differences when looking at a flat piece of paper.
As we’ve been going through the book of Luke over the past several weeks, Jesus and His disciples have been traveling. Starting near the Sea of Galilee, they were going through portions of Samaria and headed to Jerusalem. Today’s adventure starts in Jericho which is near the Dead Sea.
It’s about seventeen miles from Jericho to Jerusalem on the map. What the map doesn’t show is the elevation difference. Jericho is 864’ BELOW sea level…Jerusalem is 2500’ ABOVE sea level. This is a 3364’ elevation change. This is almost ¾ of a mile up.
This unseen uphill elevation is going to make the journey harder than it appears on the map.
This is why it is important to read and study the whole map and not just look at the pictures. The information you need is there if you just use it.
The same thing is true for the Map for life, the Bible. Just looking at the popular stories and verses doesn’t give you the full picture. You need to read it and study it so you can be prepared for the elevation changes.
Going through this journey of life without even looking at the Map (Bible) is sure to make the adventure more difficult.
In this week’s portion of the Map (Luke 18) we are given a lot of valuable information for our journey.
We learn that –
- Like the widow’s persistence in going before the judge, if we pray day and night God will hear our prayers. (Luke 18:1-8)
- Thinking too highly of ourselves and putting others down is not pleasing to God. This is shown to us in Luke 18:9-14 when the Pharisee prayed out loud how great he was and how greedy, dishonest and unfaithful the tax collector was. On the other hand, the tax collector only asked to be forgiven for his sins.
- In Luke 18:18-30 our Life Map shows us how to get to Heaven in the example of the rich man who isn’t willing to put God ahead of his earthly wealth. We all have things that we do the same thing with. Whatever that thing is for you, you need to make it less important than God.
The Map doesn’t say it will be an easy journey, but it makes it clear it’s the right path.
- The final directions given to us in Luke 18 are in verses 35-43. Here we are shown how having faith in Jesus will open our eyes. The blind beggar heard that Jesus was passing by. He shouted out to Jesus to give him his eyesight and his prayer was answered.
As Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem, the disciples were having trouble believing what Jesus was telling them about His upcoming death. They believed that Jesus was the Savior, but His death was not their vision of how He would conquer the world.
The disciples’ hearts were in the right place, but their heads weren’t.
They finally figured it out after His death and resurrection.
They disciples had preconceived ideas and were having trouble focusing. In Sunday School, my sister compared this to when her son was a young boy. She would try to get him to focus on what she was telling him by putting her hands on each side of his face and getting him to look her in the eye. Then she knew she had his focused attention.
We need to make eye contact with God and give Him our focused attention.
Read and study the Life Map. Realize that there will be highs and lows. Life is not going to be a paper smooth journey, but it’s worth the effort.