By Dayton Kitterman
A few months ago, I was introduced to “Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God,” by Gary Thomas. It is a relatively short book, easy to read and substantive in its content. The author presents nine different “spiritual temperaments” each with strengths, weaknesses and preferences. Through self-evaluation you discover your own personal orientation for worship. I found that I am an Intellectual, naturalist with ascetic appreciations. What that means for me to “connect with God” is I like to study my Bible in the mountains by myself!
How do you connect with God? What do you need on your “sacred pathway,” the sacred place where you meet with God? Have you ever considered that you have worship preferences? That you have a “sacred pathway”… a personalized pathway upon which your soul connects with the living God?
Along these lines, I have found a couple of important realities in the Bible that bring some clarity to the “sacred pathway” leading into intimacy with God. The first reality is that God is at work in your life to bring you into a relationship with Him. God is the initiator. Do you remember the story of the “Woman at the Well”, (Gospel of John, chapter 4)? Jesus went out of His way to connect with this woman and then told her,” … the Father is looking for those who will worship him…” (John 4:23 NLT). Jesus was demonstrating the attitude of His Father. He is looking for those who will enter the “sacred pathway,” encountering Him along the way. The simple truth is this: God is the initiator in our relationship with Him. He is looking for you. He wants you to know Him and live in relationship with Him. The Bible way of entering the “sacred pathway” is by responding to God’s gift of His Son, Jesus. Jesus is the way into intimacy with God. The “sacred pathway” has a door, and the door is Jesus. You enter through Him.
The second “sacred pathway” reality I have found is that God’s invitation to you involves the necessity of you responding to Him and then continuing in ever deepening intimacy with Him. Connecting with God starts with God, but requires you to respond and keep on responding. In the New Testament (Gospel of John, chapter 3) is a simple statement about the relationship of Jesus with His disciples. It says, “After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them…” (John 3:22 ESV). Jesus made it a part of His regular routine to spend time together with His disciples; to remain with them. This is what He wants to do with you, too. This is not so much espousing a religion or joining a different church, but engaging in relationship with Him. These are the realities of the “sacred pathway.” God is the One reaching out to you and you need to respond to Him.
There are not very many “must do’s” in our lives. I mean “must do’s” in the category of those things absolutely necessary for survival. The list is very short: you must breathe, you must eat, you must drink. Be careful not to miss the “must do” Jesus adds. It, too, is necessary for survival. At the beginning of His ministry when the forty days in the wilderness was at its end, He said,” …For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” (Matthew 4:10 NLT). Three simple words spoken by Jesus speak volumes. “You must worship”. Though your “sacred pathway” may be different from mine, the real issue is that you take the path. Jesus, who was the most intelligent and well balance person to ever live knew that worship is a necessity. He said, “you must worship.” I hope you decide to take a walk down your “sacred pathway.” Maybe it will lead you to church this Sunday!
Gary Thomas is a writer in residence at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and an adjunct faculty member teaching on spiritual formation at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of several books, including Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Pure Pleasure, Sacred Parenting, and the Gold Medallion Award-
winning Authentic Faith.
Dayton Kitterman is interim pastor at the Church of God of Exeter and a director for the Biblical Counseling Ministry in Visalia.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.