READ: Luke 3
THINK: There is a road very close to my parents’ house in Iowa that we affectionately refer to as “Pig’s Trail.” I’m pretty sure that it was my mom who coined the term, and even after spending years driving on it I have no idea what the actual name of the road is. It’s not a frequently traveled road – it contains just a few houses and a junkyard – but Pig’s Trail occasionally proves useful as a back-road shortcut when going certain places. The unique quality of Pig’s Trail though – and the origin of it’s nickname – is the fact that it has to be one of the worst paved roads in America. I’ve driven on gravel roads that were a smoother ride. There are potholes all over the place and the whole road is slanted sideways. The slant is so severe that once, when we were in high school, my girlfriend – now wife – braked to avoid hitting a dog and the car didn’t slide forward on the ice, it slid sideways right off the road and into a “Yield” sign. The sign is still tilted a decade later. At the end of the day, this unkempt road seems a more fitting passage for a herd of pigs to traverse than a car.
Luke 3 talks about another road that was desperately in need of repair, “the way of the Lord.” By the time that John the Baptist came onto the scene, the way of the Lord in Israel was in pretty bad shape. The people had largely neglected their relationship with God, and pursued sin and selfishness instead. They figured that they could walk down worldly paths and still be just fine with God because they were “children of Abraham” which is to say that they were part of God’s chosen people. John called them to wake up and repent. He warned them that if they were to be ready for the Messiah then they needed to get things straightened out and turn back to God’s paths and repent for their sinful rejection of him.
Too often we are in the same boat as the Israelites. We sit back and neglect our relationships with God because we feel like we’re “in.” Not because we’re children of Abraham but because we said a prayer many years ago and we go to church on Sundays. But John’s words echo just as true for us as they did 2000 years ago. We need to repent for our selfishness and our greed. We need to turn away from the sin of the world around us. Our sins are the potholes in our Christian journey. And we were created for so much more than a life wasted on sin. We were created for the way of the Lord, not for an unfulfilling, painful, pothole-filled journey along the spiritual equivalent of Pig’s Trail.
PRAY: Confess your sins to God. Lay them all out there – your selfishness, your greed, your lust, your untruthfulness, etc. Commit yourself to walking in the way of the Lord and letting him use you to shine his light to others as you do.