Lewis Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – you probably know it as Alice in Wonderland– in 1865; it was a children’s novel that found favor across generations. Performed on stage or screen, the story runs for almost two hours.
There’s an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat that may be the most valuable take-away from the fantasy tale: “One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.‘Where do you want to go?’ was his reply. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.’”
You’ve heard the line a thousand times: Life is a Journey. It sounds profound and principled; fortunately, few people pose the telling question that follows: If life is a journey, where are you hoping to go? Don’t let the depth of that intrusive query blow past you: without your ultimate destination clearly defined, the Cat is right: if you don’t know where you’re trying to go, it doesn’t much matter what path you choose going forward.
One day past, you heard the options of Heaven and Hell as the final stops in Eternity, and the offer of the Gospel – to realize the benefit of Jesus’ mission to Earth that led to His death, burial and resurrection – was the only sure offer to gain life everlasting in Heaven, with God. You said “yes.”
You received the Gift of Life. It will never be reclaimed by God through any missteps on your part; no good works could earn salvation, and no bad works can lose it. You are secure in the promise of forgiveness and adoption into His family, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That moment – when you said “yes” to His offer – has been entered into the Book of Life in Heaven’s courthouse.
With that certainty in hand, let me bring a cloud into your consciousness: now that you have the Gift of Life, how different has your life become? Beyond attending church with some frequency and friends who have a common faith, what are the distinguishing details of your journey that make your experience dramatically different than the people who are “doing life” alongside you?
In Psalm 16, David gave words to his life experience – as well as Jesus’ – when he said: “…my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithfulone see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (vs 10-11).
The Gift of Life gets us started in our relationship with God through His Son, but the Path of Life is the road forward that is supposed to stretch from salvation to our ultimate appearance before the Judgement Seat of Christ, on our way into Heaven. “The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.” (Proverbs 15:24).
For too many Christians, the Journey forward has stalled in a virtual Traffic Circle of worship services and Bible studies. You can go round and round – revisiting past experiences and learnings – with no signs indicating an off-ramp to the road that marks the way forward into your Kingdom Calling.
On the Path of Life, who’s blazed the way forward? “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
In our evangelical gatherings and services, we offer the Gift of Life constantly – gratefully – so that others can reckon with God on His terms. My experience is that the Path of Lifedoesn’t come up often, if at all. The Path of Life offers the incredible milestones ofLifeMastery, LifeMission and LifeStyle… with the ultimate encounter at LifeAccount, before the Judgement Seat of Christ.
Alice knew the right question to ask. Do you?