Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why is the Path Narrow?

An online friend of mine gave me an analogy of the narrow path that I want to share with you.  In Matthew 7:13-14 we find a word picture of our walk with Christ.  In it we see two choices.  One is a wide path, easy to travel, perhaps even fun but it leads to destruction.  The other is a narrow path.  Hard to find, hard to travel, but ultimately worth the effort since it leads to life.

I used to picture this in my mind as a fork in the road where a traveller made a choice, took the path they most liked and followed it till the very end.  But I knew something was wrong with that idea.  Christians do backslide and get off the path (hopefully not for long).  And the lost that are on the wide road often get onto the narrow as they come to Christ.  It seems apparent then that both roads are accessible at any given time in our lives.

So enters the analogy.  Imagine yourself on a tight rope (narrow path) across a vast canyon.  To your right and left are gaping gulfs (wide path) leading down to a deep valley (destruction).  A fall would certainly hurt you badly if not destroy you upon impact.  Our enemy has only to get you off the tightrope toward the left or the right and his job is done.  It is only by the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit living is us that we have any chance of keeping our eyes focused straight ahead and taking the baby-steps toward the other side.

But let me speak more about the right and left side of this rope.  Both lead to getting off the narrow path.  Both lead to the destructive impact of the valley below.  But I believe the analogy does more for us as it implies God's way to be a practice in "balance".  Excessiveness and extremes in either direction on almost any given matter is wide path living.  Case in point, lets say a person has a food addiction and eats to excess.  Over time their inability to find balance has led them to be obese, have blood pressure issues, high cholesterol, and type two diabetes.  Sounds like a path to destruction to me.  But that is only the right side of the "food tightrope".  On the other side are those that concern themselves too much with diet, exercise, physical appearance, and some that are so obsessive that they either don't eat enough or purge what they do eat.  This extreme leads one to be a skeletal shell of their former selves and causes just as many health problems.  Again...a path to destruction.  Both people have a problem with food.  The difference is which way they were tipped off the tightrope.

I'd like to challenge you to examine your path.  Does it reveal balanced, Christlike living...or extremes aimed at satisfying obsessions?