Hiking-two tourists walking mountainsMost people I know enjoy a nice hike in the woods or mountains. There’s something about trekking—getting away from all the noise, concrete, and things that distract us—that breathes life back into a man’s spirit. Hiking also provides some great applications for our spiritual lives.

I remember hiking in a remote area one time following a severe windstorm. About a dozen huge trees had fallen across the trail in a monstrous tangled heap. Climbing over them was a chore in and of itself, but then I realized that the debris they brought down with them had completely camouflaged the trail making it difficult to find. Unexpected disasters in life pose similar challenges, but we must find our way back to the trusted main trail.

Sometimes a well-used game trail can also lead us astray. Animals often don’t use the same hiking trails provided for humans and develop their own trail networks that usually lead to their food, water source, a bedding area, or sometimes nowhere. It’s possible to inadvertently follow a game trail instead of keeping to the often-over-grown hiking trail. Occasionally, people even get lost in the woods, usually resulting in confusion, frustration, and fear. In life we sometimes get sidetracked by the lure of a “game trail” as well that has led us on a wild goose chase.

And then there are the hazards of the trail itself. We need to be attentive to loose rocks, tripping hazards, snakes, poison oak, and potholes on the path. Carelessness can quickly turn an enjoyable hike into a turned ankle, a twisted knee, or worse.

Sometimes, trail workers will cut in a new trail and cover the old, familiar trail with brush to force hikers onto the new trail. It’s amazing to me that within a few short weeks, hikers pack down the new trail so that it looks well-worn, forgetting the old trail ever existed. Our culture does that, changing our old ways and replacing them with new. Sometimes this is for the better, but often it is not.

Life is Like Taking a Long Hike

Life is often like taking a long hike on an unfamiliar trail. As we journey through life, there are unexpected hazards threatening to trip us up or cause harm. They may be moral traps Satan puts in our path or just worldly temptations that cause us to stumble. Then there are those trails that cross our pathway that could mistakenly redirect our plans. Sometimes the new trails that our culture forges can lead us into sin (i.e., the ways of the wicked).

In choosing the right path, often our struggle is not between picking a good path vs. an evil path, but rather in simply picking God’s best, and for that we must regularly communicate with God and listen to His voice.

For the best “hiking experience” possible as we go through life, we need to follow in Jesus’ steps, obey His Word, and listen to the promptings of His Holy Spirit in our lives.

Scripture Reading: Psalm 25; Psalm 119:105

Personal Application: Today and each day, ask the Lord to lead you in the way you should go. Trust Him and stick to His trail even when the going gets tough.


  Wendell Morton and  Jim Grassi, D. Min.

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5