Walking the Narrow Road
- Thursday, May 20, 2010
Have you ever reached a point in your life where you needed some direction? Where you wanted someone to just show you the path to take or tell you what to do? I have a time or two.
It is not very difficult to find "help" in a situation like this. Everywhere I look, I can find people, resources, websites and "solutions" for everything—what I "should" be doing and how to achieve it, how to look better or "fix" something about myself, how to find the perfect job and become wealthy, how to get "more" and be "happy," etc.
Although the world's view of what is important in life (and how to get there) can seem enticing, glamorous and simple at times, it runs contrary to what the Bible instructs us to do.
World: Be like Mike.
Bible: Be like Jesus.
World: The person with the most toys wins.
Bible: It is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23).
World: We deserve everything.
Bible: We don't deserve anything (Psalms 103:10).
World: We are not responsible.
Bible: We each must account for ourselves (Romans 14:12).
Some of us have gradually been influenced over time to strive, pursue and live for those things that are of this world, and have now found ourselves on a different road from what our heart truly desires.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2).
For many of us (singles), our choices may appear to be broader than those who are married or have children since we are able to make many of our decisions strictly based upon our own needs and wants. However, we will be accountable as everyone else for all of our decisions, even more so if we are squandering our time and God-given opportunities.
So, how do we get back on path?
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13-14).
Have you ever been to a sporting event or concert where you were a part of a large crowd? It is so easy to get swept up and literally carried along. Trying to navigate against the flow is nearly impossible. The only means of escape is finding an alternative path where others would not look or be willing to take.
That is what life can be like when we get caught up in what everyone else is doing. The culture of today's society is like a massive current that can engulf and deposit us in some new location far from where we want to be.
In order to avoid being misguided, we must actively and deliberately seek the Lord for His guidance, insight and strength in order to recognize these opportunities and options which may be obscured or not as pronounced as the obvious ones. A resolute effort needs to be made on our part for us to see those doors that are cracked open specifically for us.
Sometimes, we may not pursue a course of action due to our own personal fears, weaknesses, doubt or uncertainty. As a result, we turn away and miss out on those narrow hidden paths that were intended for us to take.
The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave (Proverbs 15:24).
If you have ever done any sort of hiking, you have surely found it is a great deal easier to descend a mountain on a wide path than traverse a mountain on a narrow ledge. The wide path takes little faith, requires minimal skill and takes little effort. On the other hand, the narrow ledge requires precise calculated steps, utmost attention and trust in knowing where you're headed and who is leading you.
A couple of years ago, a group of friends and I embarked on what we thought would be a relatively short (and easy) hike up Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Battling muscle cramps, heat exhaustion and dehydration, eight hours, thousands of feet of elevation change and miles of mountain trails later, three of us stood on top of the granite rock.
We could have found an easier hike, changed our goal or given up altogether, but we wouldn't have had the sense of accomplishment, the mutual bond having completed it together or the amazing experience (and pictures) of looking down from above.
Our mountain-top (and God-ordained) experiences don't usually come from living (and settling) in the valleys. They are achieved by stepping out of our comfort zones, away from what everyone else is doing, and walking the narrow path. Our growth occurs when we push ourselves beyond what we think we are capable of and closer to what God made us to be.
We climbed mountains because of what we bring down, mainly an experience of what we're made of—strength, perseverance, determination and honesty (David W. Pierce, Don't Let Me Go: What My Daughter Taught Me about the Journey Every Parent Must Make).
God never promised life would be easy, especially for believers. It is an everyday battle of stretching ourselves, (sometimes) placing ourselves in difficult positions, making the right choices and doing the right thing. As Christians we should be living differently and uniquely from the rest of the world—not following their lead and going along with the crowd. That difference should be exhibited in our lives.
- By choosing not to do what everyone else is just because it's the "cool" or popular thing to do
- By making a decision to do the right thing in the workplace even though everyone else is overlooking or going along with it
- By choosing to follow God's direction for your life instead of pursuing the love of fame, money and wealth
- By honoring God and your commitments in relationships instead of "the norm"
- By allowing the Spirit to lead instead of doing what is "expected"
By committing everything you do to the Lord
We are blessed as followers of Jesus to have a body of believers who can surround and lift us up when we can't stand, guide us when we have lost our way and instruct us in how to live a righteous life. It is invaluable to have people who walk beside you on your journey.
However, regardless of how many godly and well-meaning friends, family members and wise counselors we may have around us, ultimately, we have to make our own choices and decisions (and mistakes), learn our own lessons, walk our own path and account for our own actions.
We can make every effort to look, act, and be like someone else, nevertheless we will never be the same person nor live the life they live. We were each designed, formed and created uniquely for a specific purpose only we can fill.
Find your own unique purpose on your specific path that leads to the gates of heaven.
Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men (Proverbs 4:14).
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to CYdmg@yahoo.com.
**This article first published on May 20, 2010.
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