30th September 2023
'Cindi McMenamin shares'
"How Should Christians Respond to
'Life Is a Journey, Not a Destination?"
When your plans get foiled, you find yourself on a detour, or you are smack dab in the middle of troubles, you may hear a well-meaning friend try to comfort you or steer you in the right direction with the phrase, "Life is a journey, not a destination."
While that motto might seem like encouragement to hang in there and focus more on your present than your future, it can also steer you wrong if you start to live by it.
Yes, life is a journey with its ups and downs. But if we lose sight of our ultimate destination, our journey through life's challenges becomes meaningless.
When you and I stop thinking of our final destination as believers, we will miss the opportunities throughout life that God gives us to refine our character, give Him glory, share Him with others, and ultimately prepare us for our eternity with Him in heaven.
What Does "Life Is a Journey, Not a Destination" Mean?
This well-worn maxim originated from American author Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote in his essay, Self-Reliance: "It's not the destination, it's the journey."
His essay, intended to convince people to avoid conformity, stressed that for one to truly be significant he or she had to follow their own conscience and "do your own thing."
He contended that the process of creating is its own reward and that we can only feel relieved and happy in life when we pour our hearts into our work and do our best. Anything less will give us no peace, he wrote.
Granted, life is a journey filled with lessons, hardships, heartaches, joys, celebrations, and special moments that will ultimately lead us to our destination or purpose in life. Our path will not always be smooth, but will, in fact, include many challenges.
Emerson wrote that we are not to be not so focused on the end result or outcome of our goal but to pay attention to the process and not be so overly concerned about getting to a certain place.
The mere fact that the quote comes from a position of relying on self should warn any believer that it runs contrary to what the Bible teaches about relying on God.
The quote, in essence, implies that a journey is to have a goal in life and hopes to obtain that goal, but if you don't then you can just enjoy an average life.
A destination, on the other hand, is a concrete goal in which one will do whatever it takes to get there.
In other words, if you set out to drive from California to New York and you're focused on the destination, you'll eventually get there.
But if you choose to be more intent on the journey, itself, it's possible you may get distracted and settle somewhere in the Midwest, causing you to never see or experience the East Coast at all.
What Does the Bible Say about Our Lives and Our Real Home as Christians?
While "life is a journey, not a destination" implies that we should concentrate on the here and now, it contradicts Scripture which tells us to keep our eyes on our eternal destination: Heaven.
Colossians 3:1-2 tells us to be heavenly minded, focused on our eternal home:
You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. (GNT)
Jesus told us to invest in heaven - our destination - when He warned:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also".
He knew that whatever we spent our time, money, and effort on would eventually win our hearts. He didn't want us to become distracted with the things of this world and losing sight of our eternal destination.
In essence, Jesus was anything most people will miss the point in life and "do their own thing" and go the way that most others are going and it will mean death and destruction.
He urged that we not live for the here and now, nor follow where the crowd is going, but be careful to enter the "narrow gate."
Un-edited version, and Bible references avaiable, on request
is a national speaker, Bible teacher, and award-winning writer who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others.
She is also a mother, pastor's wife, and author of 17 books
For more on her speaking ministry, coaching services for writers, and books to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.