How Not to Get Lost

May 15, 2014Janet Wingard

In our early years, we lived in northern Wisconsin in a little house surrounded by 40 acres of forest and wildlife. Our four young children loved to explore the extended backyard, so one July afternoon we decided to take a walk in the woods. The cicadas were humming in the thick foliage, the bullfrogs were croaking in the pond, and the large mouth bass were splashing as they feasted on minnows and whirly bugs. We quickly added our own sounds of schleping feet and laughter to the forest chorus.

As we moved deeper into the trees, we were mesmerized by the beauty and the wildlife that surrounded us. Besides a few signs of whitetail deer, it was obvious the lush undergrowth had not been disturbed for years. As the last fingers of sunlight faded from the dense foliage, we decided we better start home. Unfortunately, with all the twists and turns we had taken, we had lost our way! Even worse, we left home without a map or a flashlight! Hours later we found our way home (thank goodness for the midnight moon), but not without learning some valuable lessons on how not to get lost in the future---Take a map and have a light!

I remembered this walk as I studied 2 John. John tells us how not to get lost in this life as he encourages us to take the map of obedience and the light of love and truth as we walk with God!

And this is love; that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 6

This short epistle was written to the “chosen lady” and her children. There is speculation whether these thoughts were penned to an admirable Christian woman or perhaps to one of the churches that John was overseeing. Regardless of the recipient, the message to them---and also to us---is the same:

How not to get lost: Walk in obedience, love and truth!

  • We must walk in obedience.

Obedience shows our love for Jesus. Jesus explains this to his disciples, “If you love me, you will obey what I command…Whoever has my commands and obey them, he is the one who loves me.” John 14:21-24 We should seek to know the Bible and follow its commands.

  • We must walk in love.

Walking refers to our behavior. “In love” is our character and attitude with which it is to be done. To walk in love is to serve, be kind, considerate and honest--- conducting yourself with the attitude of love. God does not rejoice with our great works, but rather the love that we show while we’re doing! Without love, everything else we do is of no value to us.

  • We must walk in truth.

Walking in truth is to be obedient to the truth which God has made known. Walking in the truth is a matter of choice. The Psalmist write, "I have chosen the way of truth..." Psalm 119:30. Walking in the truth requires a constant dependency on the grace and power of God. When we walk in truth we are loving and serving Jesus, living in a way that brings honor and glory to God.