“I drove over to Johnsonville yesterday,” Stan began. “I took the old road over the summit, going through Weston.”
“That’s a beautiful drive,” I replied. “Was it nice?”
“Sure was,” Stan responded. “There was a bit of a slowdown near the summit, where the highway people are installing a guardrail, but that only gave me more of a chance to stop and enjoy God’s magnificent scenery.”
“Putting in a guardrail?” I said. “Is that because of the accident that happened up there a while back?”
“I think so,” Stan replied. “That was a real tragedy when that couple went off the road and were killed in the crash.”
“While the guardrail is too late to protect that couple,” I responded, “it will probably save a lot of lives in the future.”
“Guardrails can do that,” Stan replied. “Not only physical lives, but spiritual ones as well.”
Continuing, he added, “That’s what the apostle Paul told the elders of the church in Ephesus during his final visit with them.”
“He talked about guardrails?” I asked.
“Kind of,” Stan replied. “He didn’t use the word, ‘guardrails,’ but he certainly did talk about guarding. And I see it as Paul was talking directly to me as well.”
“Guarding what?” I asked.
“Paul put it in terms of the elders were to guard themselves as well as the church which they were to shepherd.”
“I can see how that could apply to you in the sense of guarding yourself,” I said, “but you don’t have a church to shepherd. You’re not the pastor of a church.”
“That’s right,” Stan replied, “I’m not the pastor of a church, but I do see the role of one helping another believer towards spiritual maturity as similar.”
Continuing, he added, “Certainly similar in the sense that I need to be on guard, not only for my own faith walk, but on guard in how I seek to help you in your faith walk.”
“And how do you do that?” I asked. “How to you keep on guard?”
“Build guardrails,” Stan replied. “The guardrails of the Word of God; the guardrails of listening to the voice of God through the Holy Spirit; the guardrails of obeying what it is God shows me He wants me to obey. All sorts of guardrails.”
“Sounds kind of like discipleship,” I said. “You think that’s a fair statement?”
“I do,” Stan replied, “but I think it’s more than ‘kind of like’!”
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. Acts of the Apostles 20:28.
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matthew 16:24.
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for allowing me to have a personal relationship with you while I wait to spend eternity in your presence. Thank you, too, for wanting to guard me so I do not run off the road or path you intend for me. Please help me in guarding my relationship with you, as well as in helping anyone you bring into my life that you want me to disciple or shepherd into a deeper relationship with you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Guardrails are important to keep us from running off the road. Do you have guardrails in your life to keep you on the path towards greater maturity in your faith walk? If not, why? What do such guardrails look like? If you do have such guardrails, do you know that they need to be maintained in order to be secure? What does that sort of maintenance look like? If you don’t have guardrails or you aren’t maintaining them properly, do you want to have secure guardrails in place? If so, do you know how to do that?