"Follow me," he said.
"Where to?" I asked.
"Wherever I lead," he replied.
"O.K., where you lead I will follow."
My journey began very early in life. I walked alone on a wide, dark path. I was lost and lonely. After a time, I realized that I was stumbling around, was lost, miserable, without purpose and needed help.
I came upon a beautiful gate with a shepherd standing at the entrance. He introduced himself to me and offered me a trip beyond imagination if I trusted him and believed in him and what he could do for me. He handed me a guidebook with a map and told me that if I accepted his offer, he would personally guide me down the right pathway. I could only enter that pathway if I accepted him and his offer to be my guide.
I thought, "What do I have to lose? I wonder what the cost of this trip will be?"
When I asked him the cost of the trip, he replied, "I already paid the cost in full! All you need to do is accept my offer and follow me."
How could I pass up that deal? No one else has been so generous! After I joyfully accepted him and his promises, he handed me the guidebook and map and told me to follow him through the gate.
After walking through the gate, the pathway became narrow. It was a joy to have the presence of a guide and a roadmap on our journey together. I had gotten lost occasionally and the darkness, fear and loneliness during that time was excruciating, so having his brilliant light, loving guidance and companionship of one who knew the way, gave me immeasurable security, hope and love as I trusted him.
On our journey together I noticed some things along the way. There were detours that were tempting to take because they looked so inviting. But when deviating down the detour, I noticed that he didn't follow me because I was supposed to follow him.
He turned around when he noticed I wasn't following him and said to me, "I'll be waiting right here for you when you come back! I promise. If you call me, I'll even come to help you return to me."
I also noticed some people not proceeding along the path. They were stopped or were walking in place. They were going to have to recommit to their guide and follow more closely or they would falter in their steps. Others were actually walking backward. Others were looking back from where they came from instead of where they were going.
The pathway was steep, narrow, rocky and had dips and hills. And the journey was hard, but joyful. His companionship and love was a joy and when I slipped occasionally, he helped me up. Sometimes the others on the pathway were not as nice as they should be to me and I became angry. In my anger I found myself detoured and realized I was bitter and getting away from my guide. I called out to him and asked him why I wasn't feeling his presence.
He patiently and lovingly picked me up and counseled and comforted me and said, "I forgive you for your bitterness, now you must forgive those who wounded you. Then our fellowship will be restored and we'll get back onto our joyful journey once again. Keep your eyes on me, not on those who have wronged you."
The longer I walked with him, the stronger I became. I occasionally stubbed my toe on a rock or my eye strayed over to the other path, which was broad. So many people were on that curving wide, dark path! I occasionally called out to them to tell them about the path that was filled by my guide's light. I noticed that the closer I walked to him, the lighter the pathway became. He occasionally shined his flashlight on the other path to show them that there is another pathway that is bright, and occasionally someone called to him to receive their trip offer when they came through the gate. But most of those on the dark path didn't like the light and chose to remain on their path. They didn't want to follow the ultimate guide but wanted to do their own thing. They didn't realize they were following the herd or crowd who were ultimately following the dark one.
Eventually I learned to also read my guidebook and map while keeping one eye on him whom I started calling by other names such as: savior, master, counselor, father, brother, healer, etc. I learned that the straight and narrow pathway I was on was leading me to heaven and to The Father. The dark, wide path was a path to perdition or hell and eternal separation from God.
I even noticed that some people were walking with one foot on the light footpath and the other outside the light or in the gutter. They weren't fully committed to walking in the light. That non-committed life actually is much harder to walk and much more dangerous, for the ruts are many and could cause a horrible and perhaps lethal stumble.
One day as I was walking along, I noticed what I was wearing. I had on a full outfit of armor. While reading my guidebook I found that I was wearing the Helmut of Salvation, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Belt of Truth, and on my feet, the shoes that spread the Gospel of Peace. In my hand I carried the Sword of the Spirit that symbolized my guidebook, and a Shield of Faith. I realized that this armor protected me on my journey.
The Helmut symbolized being saved from walking the dark path and getting on the right path because of the price my Savior paid for my trip. It also protects me from all mental sins including bad attitudes, dirty thoughts, hate, despair, fear, etc. and gives me the ability to see truth, hear the voice of God, have wisdom, courage and speak with an anointed tongue.
The Breastplate of Righteousness protects my emotions and feelings. My own righteousness is dirty but putting on my Savior's righteousness cleanses me and gives me "right standing with God."
The Belt of Truth encircles me with God's truth and enables me to recognize and speak truth.
The shoes that spread the Gospel of Peace enables me to walk on the path of righteousness or the path of life and spread the light as I walk with my Savior-guide.
The Sword of the Spirit is my guidebook, the holy scriptures, and enables me to fight the fiery darts of the enemy - the enemy of doubt, unbelief, hate, temptation, bitterness, etc.
And the Shield of Faith is the faith my Savior gave to me on that day he offered to me, and I chose to accept, his path of life.
I have now been walking many years with my guide - my Saviour. He has helped me through marriage, children's births, deaths of loved ones, struggles with sicknesses, lay offs and disappointments. He has given me strength when I felt weak, resources when I was devastated, healing when I was sick. He has been faithful and been there for me whenever I called upon him and even when I couldn't call. He knows my weaknesses better than anyone else but he remains patient, faithful and loving. This journey isn't over yet and he continues to walk with me - all because I chose to accept his offer.