I was thinking today on the lives of many in history and realizing the trail that led to my own salvation. If those who had given their lives to translate the Bible into English had not done so, I would not have a Bible to read that showed me the love and salvation of the Lord. If others had not carried that Bible with them and been obedient to its Words and brought it to others, who finally brought it through to my own generation and to me personally, I would not have found the Word of life that led to my salvation. So many had a part to play in my being able to hear of the salvation of the Lord! Not just one person.
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without preaching? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" Then faith is of hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:14-17)
Does our faithfulness to God mean anything? Does our simple acts of obedience mean anything? How do we know what a small act of obedience in sharing His Word will mean not only to one other person but perhaps to generations of persons? Only God does. I'm so thankful for those in my own trail of faithfulness, who only God knows, who finally were responsible for bringing that Word of life to me and enabling me to find His life as my own. My heart almost faints thinking of it, and realizing how weak I am at times, in sharing His Word with others. What part did God want me to play in His trail of faithfulness? If not me, God can use others, but I miss out on being a part of that trail of faithfulness and the life and rewards that are many in being a part of that.
What may seem to us as small conversations, chance encounters, getting together with friends, chatting with co-workers, or meetings of new people, could all be part of God's planting me where He wanted me to be in order to be faithful and obedient to submit to His working through us to touch that person, bring them a needed truth, encourage their hearts to continue on with the Lord, or perhaps to bring fresh truth that they never heard before, to cause them as well to be a part in His trail of life giving fruitfulness passed on yet more and more. That fruitfulness only came from "abiding" in Him. We may think we are doing nothing for the Lord. We may think our little get-togethers and conversations are unimportant. We may wonder at our part in God's working for His kingdom. Yet each day we have a part in being submitted to Him, in putting off the flesh, in putting on Christ, and letting His Word fill our hearts and minds so that we can be a part in that trail. It's Christ Himself Who builds this trail. It's a work of His and not of us, yet our part in it is very important. That part is to submit to His Spirit's working in us, allowing Him to teach us, train us, work in our lives, and feed us, so that we have fruit that is eaten and that nourishes others, so that they also may partake and give likewise. Our part is to put into practice His Word, every day of our lives, enabling our daily walk to touch those around us, however God chooses it to.
If we neglect our spiritual growth, we neglect also our part in this process. If we fail to obey the Lord, we fail not only the Lord but ourselves and others He brings into our lives.
Some are part of a trail of destruction instead. They constantly cater to their own flesh and selfish living. In doing so they bring harm to themselves, those around them, and leave a trail of corruption that is carried on and more corruption is built on that. Corruption in a parent's life tends to bring twice the corruption in their children's lives. Children tend to not only imitate their parent's sins but build on them and double them. The progress of sin and evil and lawlessness in the world has grown worse and worse the more the world emboldens itself against God and His Word. In the church there is a trail of corruption, disregard for God's Word, and self-centered "worship" traced back to those who disregarded His Word and brought man's teachings and even the teachings of demons into the church.
But the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
This has brought such a trail of apostasy that it's hard for many to discern what is true and what is false in the church today. In order to break this trail one needs to go back to the foundation of what is true. Go back to the foundation of what was left in the first place where it all started. Go back to His Word with a pure heart of seeking His truth and His light alone, surrendering self up to His cross, denying your own life in this world and receiving His true life. May God bring a true revival of love for His Word and true submission to Him. Instead today's so-called "revival" consists of a disregarding of His Word, and self-centered "spiritual ecstasies" and mystical experience, leaving the God of the Bible outside the door as they claim "we are rich and in need of nothing."
Many families have a trail of certain sins or bondages. They have been passed down from generation to generation. Alcoholism is one example of that. Adultery is an example of that. When a conscience becomes corrupted and compromises with the truth of what is sin, and excuses it, that sin is many times passed down to the children and they become even worse and more in bondage and deceived by it than their parents. But when one turns to the truth of the Gospel it is the truth that sets one free. When one realizes it is not some "curse" they must be prayed over and delivered from, but it is sin that must be acknowledged before God and repented of, that trail of sin is broken in them. Sin has no power at the cross. It is only the cross that sets us free. It is taking up our cross and following Him and believing that He alone is the truth, the life, and the way, and living according to that faith. The cross leads to resurrection and the power of that resurrection fills our lives as we submit ourselves to Him (Ephesians 1:17-2:6)
Do you want to be a part of a trail of corruption and unfaithfulness to His Word? Or do you want to be a part of that trail of faithfulness whereby many come to His living Word of life and find His life and salvation? You may never lead someone yourself to salvation, but you are a part of a trail, one or the other, and hopefully part of the trail that leads many to His saving grace and life and faithfulness.
Paul understood the dangers of this conflict and the trail that would be left by false teachers, and struggled against that with all the power of God in Him to make sure the Gospel was kept pure (Colossians 1:29).
Jamieson, Faucett, and Brown commentary on Col. 1:29:
He explains in what respect he “labored striving” (Col_1:29). Translate as Greek, “I wish you to know how great a conflict (the same Greek word as in Col_1:29, “agony of a conflict” of fervent, anxious prayer...
And again in Acts, Paul warns them fervently, wanting them all to remain on God's path and not be deterred from it with, as he calls them, "ravening wolves"...
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. (Acts 20:26-32)
A true love of God and of His Word is a part of a trail of life that is passed on from generation to generation. Whose trail do we want to be on? And whose trail do we want to pass on to others we love? On God's path, everything we read and pass on, everything we do, everything we say, is important and must be taken before the Lord, examined by His Word, and dealt with accordingly, as we are on a path, whether we know it or not, that leads to life or corruption, one or the other. Our lives are not our own, and our choices all have consequences for us and others. Satan knows well of this trail and seeks to corrupt it every day, and succeeds in many places to change the truth for a lie.
Open our eyes Lord, we want to see Jesus, open our hearts Lord, to the truth of Your Word and light our path, so that others may follow as well.
If you are not sure you have eternal life, if you want to know more about salvation through Jesus Christ, and how you can be sure, you can read more about it here.