By Benjamin H. Liles
There once was a man who traveled down a dirt road. As he came to an intersection he couldn't help but notice that the two roads seemed complete opposites. One road was hugely overgrown, untended to, and seemed horribly narrow; too narrow for anyone to seemingly enter it. The other path was far more enticing, for it was beautifully kept. The trees were trimmed back, the hedges were trimmed neatly having a "boxy" feel to them, and signs pointed to a town just out of sight. Which way should this traveler choose?
These days we all face a dilemma: which path do we choose in regards to what our life's calling is? We're told, "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I will give You thanks, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation" (Psalm 118:19-21, Berean Study).
It is no surprise to me that I normally would have chosen like so many, going the path that looked all done up and made pretty. And this is the line of thinking we all make. "What does appearance have to do with anything, right?," we wonder. Think on this for a moment: God told Samuel, when it came time to choose Israel's next king, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7, Holman Christian Standard).
"Wait, back up? What does physical appearance have to do with choosing a path to take?," I can hear. Bear with me and I'll get this there. We're told often within God's word, the Bible, to "Be holy as I am holy" (Leviticus 20:26; 1 Peter 1:16). He has Isaiah give us these words, "And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for others: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein" (Isaiah 35:8, King James 2000).
If we choose God's way, it may end up looking like the path that's hugely overgrown. The path is narrow, seems treacherous looking, and most likely having many twists and turns along the way. There is never any way of truly knowing. But we have this as a clue from the Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14, Berean Study, italics to make a point).
Jesus tells us rather plainly, "The gate is small and the path narrow that leads to life, and few [ever] find it." Me? I've always been the adventurous type. From my childhood I've always taken the path of more resistance. Some people who say they are adventurers take well-worn paths, but those are the easy ways. True adventurers take the beaten, harder path. Maybe that's why when I was in the hospital having my gallbladder out is was a no-brainer for me to accept Him as my Lord and Savior, finally; which proves His way is far more adventurous, in my book.
Choosing God's holiness is akin to choosing which path to take. Holiness requires putting off the "easy road," where remaining in sin keeps you from the "straight and narrow." Our fellow who started his journey on that dirt road also made his choice as well. While he was awaiting to make a decision as to which road to take, he had the thought to be "adventurous." He saw a pack of supplies, things needed for his journey through the overgrowth, the narrow path, and whatever treasures he could find. In the end, he found his way to a beautiful city of Gold, where he remains to this day.
In the same way, you can choose to side with Jesus and choose His heavenly city, that proverbial "city of Gold," and have it made yours. Yet it means doing so His way; it doesn't mean you have to clean yourself up, for He will do that Himself, over time. We all have the choice to make, whether or not to take the small and narrow way, or choosing the broad way that leads to death. It is my hope and prayer that you have a true adventurer's heart. Take the small and narrow way. He's the map and guide, and He will show you how to be more holy as He already is holy. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.