This summer, after completing a sermon series called “Living Deep,” my pastor gave the congregation a list of practical steps to help us go deeper in our faith. He called step twelve, “Choose a new direction, and start on it again each day.” I like the idea that every day is another chance to change your life. But instead of choosing a new direction, I prefer the path metaphor that appears so often in scripture.
In Robert Frost’s famous poem, The Road Not Taken, he wrote about the choice he made between two roads in a wood. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” We all get to choose between completely different paths in life. Our choices make all the difference.
Joshua told the people of Israel to fear the Lord and follow him faithfully. “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” God doesn’t force anyone to follow him; we get to choose. Moses told the people of Israel, “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses..” In other words, you have a choice between two very different paths. Listen to the Lord. Choose life.
Jesus said that there is a wide road that many people follow. Unfortunately, the wide, well-traveled road leads to destruction. Fewer people find the narrow road that leads to life.
“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
One day when I was hiking with a group, two of us went the wrong way at a trail junction. There were signs that we weren’t going the right way; the trail wasn’t as worn or maintained as the trail we had been on. A large tree had fallen across the path. We should have turned around but we continued on even though it didn’t seem right. The path we were on did eventually take us to a trail head but we went miles out of our way, ran out of water, and worried the other hikers.
It is not always easy to follow a path in the wilderness. I have been led astray by other hikers – people who confidently went the wrong way. I’ve relied on my own faulty sense of direction and had to backtrack when I realized my mistake. When the trail is not clearly marked, it is easy to miss a switch back or lose sight of the trail completely. Every year, I hear about someone getting lost and not being as fortunate as I was.
Jesus is the new direction. If you want to find the narrow road that leads to life, you have to follow him. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Following Jesus isn’t a walk in the park. People will ridicule you for believing in him. People will automatically assume that you are a hypocrite because they have seen so many “Christians” talk the talk without walking the walk.
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. – 1 John 1:6-7
The word of God is the trail map to living a deeper life of faith. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105). Show me your ways Lord, teach me your paths (Psalms 25:4). Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
Let God be your compass. Walk with him faithfully each day. He will make your paths straight. He will keep your feet from stumbling. He will guide you along the right paths. Even when you walk through the darkest valleys, he will walk beside you.
Reading List Deuteronomy 30:19-20 Joshua 24:15 Psalm 18:2; 28:7; 118:24; 119:11 Proverbs 3:5 Romans 8:31-31; 12:1-2 Acts 17:28 2 Corinthians 5:16-20 Ephesians 1:11; 2:10 1 John 3:1-10; 5:1-4