Principles of the path

By Michael Smith


Direction, not intention, determines destination.
-Andy Stanley, author and pastor of Northpoint Community Church

This is the principle of the path.

Do you remember Dorothy and her little dog, Toto? She wanted to get home, and there was this guy in Oz who was a Wizard – hence the name of the movie – who would help her get home. In order to get there she had to do something…. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” If she would follow this road it would lead her to Oz. In fact, if you or I wanted to get to Oz, then guess what… we have to follow the yellow brick road. The reason Dorothy got there is because she followed this road. The direction determines destination.

There was nothing special about Dorothy. She didn’t have to be brilliant – she was traveling with a guy with no brain. It had nothing to do with her character – one guy didn’t have a heart. She didn’t need to be particularly brave- in fact, one guy didn’t have any courage at all. She got to Oz because that is where the yellow brick road led. This is the principle of the path. She could have intended to get there or wished or dreamed with all of her heart, but unless she started out skipping down this road (as munchkins sing her out), she would never have gotten there.

Here is the reality as Morpheus stated in The Matrix… “There is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.” Solomon says it like this…

“The wise see danger and take refuge, the foolish keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 27:12

What seperates the wise and the foolish, and ultimately us as we include ourselves into this story, is not that one saw the danger and one didn’t. It is what they did in response to it. It is what you do when you see danger that determines whether or not you are a biblical fool. Both saw the danger – the wise changed their direction. The foolish kept going, they didn’t change their path, and Solomon gives us this promise – they suffer for it.

Have you ever been lost? It is a scary feeling when you realize that you have no idea where you are and are possibly headed in the wrong direction. Funny thing about being lost… rarely do you ever keep going in the same direction. You turn around, exit, change your direction.

I think if we are honest with ourselves, we all have good intentions. We all want to be headed in the right direction. But the principle of the path teaches us that it is not about how we feel or what we would want. It is about whether or not we are headed in the right direction or on the right path. This principle can apply in so many areas of your life if you would let it.

Do you want to grow in your faith? Are you on the right path to get you there? Do you want to excel in school? There is a path for that – be on it. Do you want to be financially secure? You may have to change your behavior in order to be on the right path. This may not be easy and you may not see
results right away.

The difference between you and everyone else is going to be found in whether or not you can look past next weekend. Most people can’t. But if you can see how choices today affect tomorrow, and you know that there are consequences to your actions, then you can be on a path- the right path. The direction of that path will determine your destination- the end result. Have a fun journey.

Michael Smith is a pastor, former permanent staff member and chair of the camp’s leadership committee. He blogs at thesmithgroupnj.blogspot.com.

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