THE JOURNEY FOR A NEW YEAR

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Ancient proverb

 

If you have read from this website or from the companion articles on facebook for very long, then you will know that the primary focus is on being sure of your own salvation, and the only safe way to do that is to read the Bible for yourself.

 

I have always had great respect for our military men and women, and am convinced that they are among the most heroic and honorable of our society. I enjoy hearing about their training and, although it could be considered humdrum in its repetitiveness, it is this very repetitiveness that is often what makes them great. Of all the stories of the training of the various military branches, one of my favorites is of the men and women who become paratroopers.

 

For years, these soldiers have a training that eventually becomes a mindset - you "fold your own" ! I don't know if it is a practice that is still in place, but I do know that it used to be a key to their training. The idea was that for a soldier to have the confidence to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, he or she needed the confidence to know that their parachute was going to open right. The only way they could do that was to "fold their own" parachute.

 

This is the same concept behind Paul's instruction in his letter to the church at Philippi. God inspired him to write the following:

 

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act according to His good purpose". Philippians 2:12-13, NIV

 

Think about the importance of that phrase, "continue to work out your salvation". Note also the part about God's good purpose. Both phrases are important to have the right understanding of the command. The paratrooper does fold his own chute, but he does not make his own chute. That is left to the experts who design and manufacture the parachute, using the right materials and the exact measurements that will allow the chute to do its job. In a similar manner, we do not come up with our own purpose or plan of salvation - God has done that - but we are commanded to work out own salvation because it is we who will need to be sure.

 

So, here is a method that I would like to recommend to you for the new year: Start "folding your own" chute by starting in the New Testament. Just read one chapter a day, day in and day out without fail, until you have read through the entire New Testament. It won't take much time out of your daily schedule, but it has the potential to be an investment in your own salvation that could prove to be the difference between a safe landing or a deadly plunge to the Day of Judgment.

 

One last thing: Reading through the New Testament one chapter at a time will take 260 days. That means you will be about 3/4 of a year older than when you began. That's a long time, it's true, but how much older will you be in 260 days if you don't read a chapter a day?

 

As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For He says,

"In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. "

I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.

II Corinthians 6:1-2, NIV