There was only one way to describe the temperature: frigid. With freezing rain pelting our special riding gear, it was impossible to tell we were on the island of Maui. Hawaii was supposed to be all about sunshine and warm temperatures. But on the summit of Haleakala in February, cloud cover and cold temperatures ruled.
My husband, Steve, and I had scheduled what we thought would be a fun, sun-filled day of horseback riding into the crater of Haleakala National Park. Our guide would lead us down, into the crater, through amazing landscape. We'd enjoy a picnic lunch before heading back up the mountain. The ride was supposed to last approximately five hours - including our stop for lunch.
As we began the descent over the rim of the crater, it was impossible to see due to the rain. With the wind blowing the tiny ice crystals into our faces, we were thankful for the rubber raingear provided by our guide. Our horses seemed unaffected by the cold, and followed the lead horse without hesitation.
When the icy rain changed to a cool mist, I was finally able to pay more attention and take in the scenery. And I made a discovery. Although my horse, Sully, was following the guide's horse, when we came to a section of trail where there was an option, Sully took the section of trail with the higher incline. I thought it might just be a coincidence, but every time we came to a place where he had a choice, he repeatedly took the 'high road.' He never stumbled. And he was able to maintain his footing while walking down the steep mountain.
I couldn't help relating his behavior to my decisions in life. When I'm given the option, do I immediately select the high road, or do I settle for following the status quo? The truth is, I have to be aware of the consequences of my actions and carefully think through how they'll affect not only myself, but others as well.
Just like my horse, Sully, was leading the horse and rider behind him, I also have people who look up to and follow me. While I understand that perfection is impossible, am I doing my best to make choices consistent with a life lived for the Savior?
The Apostle Paul spoke about this very subject to the believers in Thessalonica. He encouraged the Christians to do some things: build each other up, avoid quarreling, comfort the frightened, rejoice, pray, and be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:11-18). He also warned them to avoid some things: laziness, and situations which could draw them into evil. His words serve as a good reminder "Abstain from all appearance of evil," (1 Thessalonians 5:22; KJV).
It may not be possible to avoid all evil, since I live in a sinful world, but the next time I'm faced with a decision, I'll remember Sully, and choose to avoid temptation and take the 'high road.'
What about you? What step will you take to avoid temptation and take the high road today?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the many lessons You teach us through Your creation. Help me to remember that others are following me. Give me the wisdom and courage to take the high road when I'm tempted. In Jesus' name, Amen.