the Way - the only way - to life with God today and forever. Yet,
millions of seekers are choosing spiritual paths that lead to bondage,
disillusionment and despair. Most seek blindly, for they can neither read nor
follow God's signposts. They don't see the chasm that separates His Way
from Satan's way, nor will they seek help from the only One who can bridge
most significant crossroads, they pick their pathway for its temporary
attractions and exciting promises, giving little thought to the ultimate
destination. "Why follow that narrow, old road when fast, new
super-highways beckon?" taunt the voices of popular culture.
"Your way is no better than any other. Every path leads to the same
universal end: eternal bliss with a loving God."
don't. But deception becomes the rule as the masses march along the time-worn
tracks of history. Once again, we re-live the Old Testament age when
did what was right in his own eyes."
[Judges 21:25] Few
heed God's warnings, though they seem tailor-made for our times:
by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to
destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate
and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly
they are ravenous wolves."
differs radically from man's way. And it makes little sense to human nature
and today's pleasure-seeking crowds. For God's way up is down. His way to
honor comes through humility. His way to joy leads through pain. His path to
life leads through death - (1) the redeeming death of our wonderful Savior
and, through our union with Him, (2) our own death to self [the
"flesh"] and sin.
purity, perseverance, a closer walk with Jesus.... The fruit of this
dying process are far greater than any suffering He calls me to endure. Yet
how often I would have chosen to walk around -- rather than through -- those
valleys of death that lead to greater life. I know that "all things work
for good," yet I still turn my eyes from my all-sufficient Lord to the sharp
rocks along the way, while my all-too-alive human nature complains, "I didn't
see these hard places on the roadmap. What happened?"
thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways... For as the
heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways...."
[Isaiah 55:8-9] "Trust in [Me] with all your heart, and
lean not on your own understanding."
[Proverb 3:5] "Be strong in the Lord" and "press toward the goal
for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 6:10-12; Philippians
me Lord," cries my repentant heart. "I was foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless, I am continually with You.
You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and
afterward receive me to glory."
"Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."
So we go
on together, my Shepherd and I. Again, the path grows steep and rocky.
Well aware of my weary frame and dragging feet, My Lord gently calls me to
Himself and shows me the way to triumph over each obstacle: "Come...
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden
voice reminds me that His best way for me means sharing His path of suffering:
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it."
I "lose" to gain His best?
that holds me back, weighs me down or dulls my discernment. Any counterfeit
that shifts my reliance from my wonderful Lord to hollow substitutes. Anything
that weakens my confidence in His sufficiency. And anything that clouds my
vision or distorts my understanding of the Way.
Elliot, martyred missionary to the Auka Indians, said it well: "He is no fool
who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what cannot lose."
my journey with Him in triumph, I willingly give Him my life and submit to
the searching, cleansing light of the Holy Spirit. On my own, I would
stumble and fall under the weight of sin and needless burdens. But my Shepherd
has freed me through the cross, and He continues to wash away the dust and
dirt from each daily journey. He has opened my eyes and filled me with His life, and I want no part in the lures
that blind and the lusts that captivate. I would be a fool to trade my
precious liberty for the world's captivity.
many walk," warns Paul, "of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping,
that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction,
whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their
mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven...."
When I am tempted to stray from His
path, I trust that He will draw me back to Himself. For He has told me, "Your
ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,'
whenever you turn to the right hand or... to the left."
How can I
respond to His kind assurance and priceless promises? I will echo the
words of David, His beloved psalm writer,
O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You....
Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day."
join me on this narrow road? You won't be sorry. For "blessed are the
people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your
countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long" for "You are the glory of
"Therefore... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily
ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy
that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat
down at the right hand of the throne of God."
"Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, help me stand...." You alone can
point me to the true eternal life of unending peace and joy. Whenever I
begin to turn to the right or to the left, please point me back to your
goal. Remind me to follow your bright beacons of truth - the special road
signs that lead your people safely along your paths. Thank You, beloved
Shepherd, my one and only Way.
Psalms 25:1-5, 8-9, 12; 37:5, 23-24; 86:11;
55:8-9; Jeremiah 21:8; Ezekiel 33:8-9, 17;
11:28-30; Luke 9:23-24; Hebrews 12:1-3.
What it means to be a Christian