Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Word Picture

A few years back, Dr. Gary Smalley published a book called, The Language of Love. The premise of Mr. Smalley’s book is that when communicating with someone we love we should do it in such a way that they not only here the words, but feel the emotions we want to share. He suggests using what he calls word-pictures. Mr. Smalley advises his readers to use similes, metaphors, allegories or parables. In other words, use a little story or vignette that will get the message you want to send across to the person listening.

Such was the method that the prophet Nathan with David (2 Samuel 12: 1 - 15). It was effective, because David convicted himself. You could say that the parables of Jesus were also word-pictures. Paul also used word pictures with the metaphor of the church being a body and Christ the head (1 Corinthians 12:12). We all have different functions in the church, but when we communicate with the Head – Jesus Christ - we work in unity.

The author of the lesson presented a very effective word picture in the last paragraph of Tuesday’s lesson. Let us read it,

“Imagine walking along a narrow path to the Shepherd's home. Along the way there are many paths leading in different directions. Some of these paths go to places that we would not want to visit. Others look tempting; they appeal to our feelings, our emotions, our desires. If, though, we take any one of them, we get off the right path and go in a way that might be exceedingly difficult to get off” (The Refiner’s Fire. Tuesday, November 6, 2007).

It requires discipline to not stray from the road that will take us to the Shepherd’s home. The road to the Shepherd’s home may not seem as exciting as other roads. But, the other roads may take us far away, and we may not want to get off the road that is taking us away from the Shepherd’s home. Besides, getting back to the Shepherd’s road may be dangerous and may require many sacrifices. For many it is hard to make that choice. And that is all that we need to do. Make a choice to not leave the road, or make a choice to return if we have not left. Or, make a choice to go back, if we leave the road.

Why is it so hard? Because, it goes against our selfish sinful nature. Without the power of Christ it is not only hard, but it is impossible. The roads to this world appeal to our senses and reasoning. Even when our hearts may tell us the other roads are the right way, we should not trust our heart, for “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). Many of them have things that appeal to our eyes, but it is pure lust and covetousness. Yes, they take us far away from God. We must choose to let God keep us in the road. Sister White puts it this way,

“God has given us the power of choice; it is ours to exercise. We cannot change our hearts, we cannot control our thoughts, our impulses, our affections. We cannot make ourselves pure, fit for God's service. But we can choose to serve God, we can give Him our will; then He will work in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus our whole nature will be brought under the control of Christ.

Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in the life. By yielding up the will to Christ, we ally ourselves with divine power. We receive strength from above to hold us steadfast. A pure and noble life, a life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible to everyone who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering will of God” (Ministry of Healing, p. 176.)

There is no panoramic or scenic route, there is no shortcut. Don’t let yourself be deceived with shuttle services or 10 lane highways. There is only one way to the Shepherd’s home, and that is the Shepherd’s road. It is the path that Christ our Good Shepherd followed. It is the path that those mentioned in Hebrews 11 followed. Those who love God will also follow this path. It is in His strength that they will follow the Shepherd’s road.