When orienteering, we must be careful to be certain we know where we are presently. If we lose track of where we are on the map, we’ve become lost and can’t hope to get to our next marker. We can keep track of our location in a number of ways, but many relate to keeping our pace consistent. When we know the length of our stride over uneven ground (and going uphill versus downhill, etc.) we know how far we’ve traveled since the last marker.
Unfortunately, if we have a very inconsistent stride, we can walk even short distances and become lost on the map by under or overestimating the distance covered.
It’s not hard to develop a consistent stride, but it takes a little concentration, and it helps to pay attention to your surroundings and how the features you observe relate to ones marked on the map. On the orienteering course, we know that a small deviation can have a growing consequence as the day continues – consistency is vital – there are no “cutting corners”.
In life, I think it’s easy to become distracted by popular culture. We’re bombarded with advertising slogans and jingles that seem easier to remember than key memory verses. We’re exposed to pressures to make small compromises and to “cut corners” as though these violations are no big deal. Friends encourage us to deviate from the true path offering an easier way to get to the next marker, or showing a way that is attractive, but going the wrong direction from our ultimate goal.
There are two scripture verses that come to mind:
- Ephesians 5:15 – See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.
- Matthew 7:24-27 – Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
The apostle Paul makes it very clear – we are to walk “circumspectly” (i.e. accurately, carefully, accurately, diligently and consistently) as wise men. As orienteerers we must be circumspect as we race from marker to marker or become lost (and lose the competition).
The verses in Matthew tell the story of two men: one who obtained safety in shelter by building his house on the rock that would not move or ripple in times of storm, deluge and wind, and the other man who built his house on the sand which is shifting and easily disturbed during a storm.
In order to have the security of building on the rock, we have to walk consistently – searching out the truth in scripture study and walking in obedience built on God’s word, just like the orienteer-er who vigilantly studies the territory, map and compass to be certain that he’s on the right path.
However, when we are attracted by the temptations of popular culture it is easy to start making small (but wrong) choices that look like short cuts, or we take alternate paths that seem to be easier but go someplace else than where we need to be with horrible consequences:
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Walking consistently gets us where we need to be in safety and security, but looking for the easy path or short cuts by making poor choices will lead to destruction.
Walk Worthy, Walk Consistently