There are two types of travellers, those who choose to get to their destination as quickly as possible and those who choose the scenic route. I’ve explored so many places when I am out in the car with Mark because we both are happy to try out a new road, avoid the motorway (highway) and take minor roads, we see a name on a map and wonder what it looks like. Along the way, we’ve found gorgeous restaurants, delicious cafes, intriguing curio shops and beautiful scenery. We’ve also found roads so narrow I’ve been terrified of meeting a car going the other way and straight quiet roads that encourage him to try for the world land speed record… but we won’t talk about that.
I was reading Matthew again today – will be for several weeks – and Jesus was talking about the narrow road that leads to salvation
13 There are two paths before you; you may take only one path. One doorway is narrow. And one door is wide.
Go through the narrow door.
For the wide door leads to a wide path, and the wide path is broad; the wide, broad path is easy, and the wide, broad, easy path has many, many people on it; but the wide, broad, easy, crowded path leads to death.
14 Now then that narrow door leads to a narrow road that in turn leads to life. It is hard to find that road. Not many people manage it.
Although I don’t want to take the broad path, I have to say that I love the way this translation describes it adding detail after detail and leaving the narrow path simple.
The Message puts it this way.
13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
Narrow, vigorous and requires total attention. You could think God is capricious when you read this. Why doesn’t He just make it easy for us to get to Heaven, to Have eternal life? At first glance that seems reasonable too, if God loves us why does He make it the narrow road that leads to Him? Because He is good. I wrote yesterday that we aren’t designed for sin, we aren’t designed to deal with the things that offend God. When He calls us on the narrow path He is actually helping us to ‘stick with the manufacturers instructions’. We get so arrogant it’s like we are saying to the sun – sorry you are too hot but I am not going to go in the shade, or wear cooler clothing you must turn down the heat. Or we say to the ocean – nope too wet, stop all that wetness.
God is Holy. That is who, what He is. He can’t stop being Holy any more than the ocean can stop being wet. But He has made it possible for us to walk on that road, He has provided everything we need even His own strength and power so that we don’t have to work it out alone. I was also reading Proverbs today.
The Eternal is ready to share His wisdom with us,
for His words bring true knowledge and insight;
With this wisdom you will be able to choose the right road,
seek justice, and decide what is good and fair
How much easier does He have to make it? But Jesus says the choice is hard. I think that’s because of us, not Him. It’s because I think I know best and am unwilling to listen, learn, understand and so I take the easy path not realising it leads at best nowhere and in fact to death. The wide, broad, easy, crowded path looks more inviting. There are so many people on it that it has to be the best option and so like a sheep I go astray.
I’m glad I have a good shepherd who comes looking and that when I hear His voice I can go back to the narrow path. Each time I do go back that narrow path becomes more familiar, more like home.
Because wisdom will penetrate deep within
and knowledge will become a good friend to your soul.