I will never forget climbing my first 14,000foot peak in Colorado. At the beginning, the path was very clear and obvious. The trailhead parking lot was full of cars, signs were everywhere, and people busily milled about. The path seemed worn and gradual as we trekked through tall pine trees and past mountain meadows. I thought to myself, “This is going to be easy!”

As we started to switchback up the mountain and the grade became steeper, I could tell I was in for a hard day’s work. Once we cleared the tree line, the path all but disappeared. Only stacked stones called cairns marked the path to the summit. At one point we thought we could see the summit and left the path for a shortcut up one face of the mountain, only to find that it led to a false summit and some pretty treacherous cliffs. We had to cautiously backtrack several miles to return to the right path. Ultimately, we made it to the top — exhausted but victorious!

I learned a life lesson that day that has stayed with me all these years: The path you choose determines your destination. Think about taking a trip. If you live in Dallas and want to take your family to the sunny beaches of San Diego, you don’t get on Interstate 20 heading east. You might make it to Atlanta, but no matter how well-intentioned you may be or how badly you want to be in California, you would never get to San Diego. Why? The path you chose didn’t lead there. That day on the mountain, we thought we could take a different path and get to the summit, but we were wrong. In the same way, the path you choose in life will determine your destination.

God created you to know Him personally and walk with Him along the path He has for you. The Bible calls this the path of life. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore,” (Psalm 16.11 ESV).

Along this path you will find “fullness of joy” in God’s presence and experience all the good things He has for you. “At the very beginning of creation, God made all things, and He made them all good,” (Genesis 1.31 ESV). The first people God made enjoyed a perfect relationship with Him. They knew God. In (John 17.3 NLT) Jesus said, “And this is the way to have eternal life — to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”  The word “know” doesn’t just mean to know facts about something; it means to have an intimate personal knowledge of someone. That’s why God created you — to know Him.

Along this path God promises purpose, peace and assurance.

 Purpose means that along this path of life, you will discover who you are, and how you can fulfill the purpose God has for your life. Peace means that on this path you will find peace with God and the secret to peace with other people. Assurance means that along this path, you can know with confidence that you will spend eternity with God in heaven.

Written by Craig Etheredge

Craig is a gifted communicator, author, and Bible teacher. Craig and his family moved to Colleyville, Texas in July 2007 to serve as lead pastor of First Baptist Church where he currently serves. In addition to leading the local church, Craig is involved in the local community serving on the Board of Directors for Baylor Hospital, Grapevine, Board of Directors of Christian Counseling Associates, Mission Board SBTC, Chaplain for the Colleyville Police Department, and football chaplain for Birdville High School. He has a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Craig met his wife, Liz, in the fifth grade and they have two daughters, Leah Beth and Abbie.

This was originally posted on discipleFIRST’s blog here.

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