We might describe the living of life—day by day—as a journey.
Where are you going on your journey in life? What is your destination? And how do we make each day count? Who do we count it for?
Imagine… you are preparing for the journey ahead of you. Excited, you begin dreaming about all the adventures you will have—the places you will visit, the people you will meet.
A question forms in your mind, “What will I pack in my suitcase so I have everything l need—on this journey of mine?”
A man comes and stands beside you. You recognise Him. It is Jesus! He says, “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with (God) the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” (1John 2:15-17—The Message)
Jesus goes on to remind you that you cannot follow two masters—you will eventually love one and hate the other. The Father—God—is good all the time. He does not want you taking your journey through life alone. He invites you to join Him and work with Him in His mission of love to a confused and hurting world in need of the Saviour.
Jesus says you are valuable to the Father whose Spirit will never ever leave or abandon you as an orphan. He will help you, guide you and teach you all that you need to know. He will even provide for you in ways that will bring great glory to His Holy Name.
You look up into the face of Jesus—in his eyes you see Truth. You see grace and mercy. You see compassion. You see joy! This is Someone you can trust. You say to Jesus, “Yes! I will trust you. I will submit to you as my Master. I will follow you and serve you. I will go where you go. I will say what I hear you saying. Yes Jesus. Yes!”
It feels like you have come home… when Jesus takes you into his Father’s arms and holds you secure. Jesus and his Father are One—perfectly united.
Now it is time to pack your suitcase for the days ahead. Jesus offers to help and you accept His offer knowing how wise he is! You remember that he once took a journey too. He set his face resolutely for Jerusalem so you feel confident that he knows all about being prepared for the journeys of life.
You recognise now that you are no longer anxious about what you will need—on this journey of yours. At peace now, you watch and listen as Jesus describes some of the things He gives you to pack in your suitcase…
Compass: The Holy Spirit will guide you and keep you in the power of the Father’s love and in the Word. He will remind you to check the compass—to ensure you keep heading ‘true north’—in step with Jesus into an eternity with him. The compass might also be called a ‘moral compass’ designed to keep you pure, holy and blameless in Christ.
Magnifying glass: represents God’s gift to you to help you examine and test everything to ensure it is of His Kingdom. You will be able to see so much more clearly with the magnifying glass—the lens through which God sees everything.
Sandals: these are sturdy—you are not surprised to find they fit you perfectly! Jesus tells you that they have been tailor-made just for you. They will protect your feet even on the roughest of roads. These are the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace.
Tool box: The Father knows what you need along your journey. He gives you tools such as patience, wisdom, knowledge and other grace-gifts designed to build up the body of Christ in the way you live. (Some tools you will be given further along the journey as you need them.)
Walking stick: this is designed to steady you. As you practice the Presence of Jesus wherever you go, His Spirit will steady you. Even if you stumble you will not fall.
Lantern: even in the darkest of places, this light will never go out. Jesus reminds you that the light of his life can never ever be extinguished by the darkness. His light within you means that even in the darkest of places, you will be able to see what God needs you to see empowered by His Spirit.
Clothes: Jesus does not pack these clothes—he dresses you in them! The robe of righteousness is a brilliant white and the garment of praise seems to be made of cloth the colour of a rainbow!
Now Jesus places His Hand upon you and speaks an ancient blessing. It is like holy oil that He says you will pass on to other people who you meet along your journey… ‘‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favour and give you his peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)
You pick up your suitcase ready to set off on your journey—Jesus looks at you with a smile that reaches all they way up to his eyes and says, “Let me carry that for you…!”