Where does that idea come from? It is a question that doesn’t get asked often enough. Someone proclaims something and it sounds right, they even have reasoning that feels compelling, but where did that idea originate?
Ideas are essential and powerful; with them, one may create order or chaos. Today, we are surrounded with peddlers of ideas and there are many who stand ready to instantly adopt whatever feels right at the moment.
These words of Isaiah are wise:
Who among you fears Jehovah and heeds the voice of his servant, who, though he walk in the dark and have no light, trusts in the name of Jehovah and relies on his God?
But you are lighters of fires, all of you, who illuminate with mere sparks. Walk then by the light of your fires and by the sparks you have kindled.
This shall you have from my hand: you shall lie down in agony.Isaiah 50:10-11 (IIT)
Many walk by the light of their own fires, or the fires of popular voices around them. Even with this blog, I have to make sure that while I share my own insights, I try to give credit to the source.
On the path to the tree of life, there is an iron rod that passes through a mist of darkness; God intends for us to pass through it.
Whether in the darkness or not, the iron rod must be firmly gripped with both hands; Otherwise, we may find ourselves among the popular masses pointing a finger of scorn back to those on the path.
If you cannot trace the ideas being proclaimed around you to true doctrine, to the scriptures, to the divine patterns that repeat over and over again, we may want to re-examine the validity of the premise.
In Lehi’s vision, a man in a white robe leads him into a dark and dreary waste. Who was this man? We don’t know, but Lehi simply followed him anyway.
It wasn’t until Lehi cried out for help that he was presented with the vision of the tree, the rod, the path, the mist of darkness, and the multitude of voices seeking to shame those trying to get to the tree.
Imagine being on that path and holding the rod when you begin to approach that mist of darkness with all the uncertainty and fear that would accompany the loss of your vision and the inability to identify the myriad of voices that you would hear coming from all directions.
All of a sudden, you notice another path on your left. There, the sun is shining, and many people are escaping to avoid the mists. The trail features a spectrum of colorful flowers and wildlife and stands as a stark contrast to the bleak darkness ahead.
The new option immediately becomes desirable.
But which path would you encourage those behind you to take? One looks lovely, and the other fills the mind with terror. One looks like it will bring peace, and the other will bring challenges that may be too much to bear. One looks safe, and the other could undoubtedly cause one to become lost forever. Would you encourage anyone to hold onto the rod and venture into the mists of darkness?
Finally, you notice that there are no signs warning people not to take the sunny path, no warnings at all. It’s quite simple really, all you have to do is let go of the rod and step off the path.
The truth is that we must go through the mists and we cannot be afraid to encourage others to do the same. We cannot protect people from the trial of faith that requires them to choose to hold onto the rod of iron and step into the darkness; we cannot avoid this ourselves either.
When we trace ideas back to the source and discover the iron rod, we must hold fast to it. Even though the masses in the building point the finger, mock and deride, even though the mists of darkness blind our eyes and the voices in the mist beckon us to follow them to escape the darkness, we don’t let go.
As the pride of the great and spacious building surges and their voices grow louder, as the mists grow dense and the darkness deepens, we must make a concerted effort to feel the iron rod in our hands and tighten our grips.
This is the only way to the tree of life.
Great article! I think these are some excellent thoughts. We live in a world that increasingly mocks the straight and narrow path that Christ has laid out for us, and the world has plenty of appealing, persuasive alternatives. It’s so important to cling firmly to God’s word and stay on His path.