When planning a vacation or a business trip that we have never taken before, most of us end up getting out the road maps if we are traveling by automobile, and make a decision as to the route we will take. Choosing one route above all the others we make a decision to follow it. In other words we "commit" to that route and accept the things that route has to offer, such as certain places to gas up, to eat, and even the views offered up by the countryside.
At this same time when we are committing to a particular route, we are
forsaking or giving up all other routes and all that they have to offer because we can only follow one route at a time. So should it also be in our walk with Jesus. If we take the road that leads to everlasting life, we are renouncing and forsaking all other roads.
At some point in life we become aware that there are two roads or ways to eternity. Some would argue this point, saying that there are many ways to eternity. On second thought I must agree, there ARE many ways to eternity but only one of them leads to eternal LIFE and not eternal DAMNATION. In the often heard verse of John 3:16 we read: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And in John10:9 Jesus said: I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. Finally, in John 14:6 He said: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. So we see Jesus clearly spelled it out that there is no getting past Him if we are to find eternal LIFE.
So if we believe what Jesus is saying, we see there is only ONE way to an eternity of everlasting LIFE. Clearly that indicates that all the other ways, or roads to eternity, do not offer
everlasting life! Choose any religion, any practice or method other than what Jesus teaches and commands and you have chosen one of the many roads AWAY from everlasting life. So, that puts us back where we were in the previous paragraph,
there are two roads or ways to eternity, one to Christ and then all the others. You see
all the others converge into one place so they are essentially one road, they just have different scenery along the way. Recall Matthew 7:13 where Jesus tells us; . . .broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction . . . and in the next verse; . . .and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life . . . . Picture those two roads, most of the folks you know are on the big wide boulevard rolling right along on what they are convinced is the right road to everlasting life. Then look at the other road. We know for sure it is narrow and non inclusive but discriminates as to who may travel it’s narrow lane. We know for a certainty that there are not very many people on it because of what the rest of Matthew 7:14 tells us; . . . and few there be that find it. Now when we, in our flesh and blood bodies, stand at the fork and look at those roads we want to take the one that looks the easiest, the one where maybe our friends are. We start out on that wide smooth freeway,
Surely we tell ourselves,
This must be the best way. But wait, have we considered what Proverbs 14:12 tells us? There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Satan himself rules this highway and he presents a very pleasant and promising picture to the undiscerning eye. We are attracted to this wide and popular way by the appeal to our eyes and our other senses. God who made us, gave us wants and needs of all kinds from food to sex and everything in between and He knows the power of these desires and how Satan can use them to trap us. That is one reason the Bible speaks so often about denying ourselves many of the things we find so desirable, for they became a potential trap, a snare to our very soul in a world that is corrupted by the sin of Adam and Eve. What Satan and his horde of demons so carefully disguise in the beginning are the lies, pain, compromises, and the hopelessness that is sure to envelope us if we continue on.
Think of all those who are approached each day with a Gospel tract, a witness, or other method of the Truth of Jesus and they continue right on as before. They see it as someone only trying to spoil their fun or cramp their style, when in fact it was the God of the universe Himself reaching out to save them, to point them to the narrow path and off of the wide boulevard.
As we stand there at the fork and gaze down that narrow winding path, we cannot figure out why anyone would want to travel that when there is a nice wide boulevard so handy. It is plain the narrow way will be rough going in places. John 16:33 even says to expect tribulation. What no one's eyes see though are God's angels of mercy, and the ruling hand of Jesus along the way. Travelers on this road have something more than the wide boulevard can offer, they have the comfort and protection of Jesus Christ. Jesus, who stands ready to help, and ready to encourage, even before we cry out, for He rules this winding path to everlasting life.
In this age we are living in, perhaps more folks than ever before are trying to travel both roads. I wonder if we could see from above as God sees, would we see a multitude of footpaths between the two roads of life? Enticed by the empty promises of Satan, many seek to satisfy the desires of their flesh, while still trying to hold on to the promises of Christ. So they run back and forth dabbling in each and then wonder why God isn't blessing them in a meaningful way. I believe 2Peter 2:22 has a comment on this situation;
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 2Peter 2:22
What many had once thrown off and were cleansed of, has been returned to. There are a lot of people who think their return has not been full time, for they dart back down their trail to that narrow path of life, but do they realize that they are once again stained and their sin has again become as scarlet?
Impossible! great numbers scream.
I they say,
am a child of the King! and I am saved by my faith and not by my works, besides only Jesus was perfect. they continue. Folks may I point out that when these people headed down that little trail to the boulevard, they abandoned the Kingdom of God. They ceased to obey Christ who said;
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? ~ Luke 6:46It is plain and simple. They were not dragged over, they made a decision to go over and most who return try to sneak back without any kind of remorse, much less repentance! I won't argue as to whether they were saved or not in the first place. Personally I don't think they were saved and there are many Scriptures we could examine, but a simple one is to be found in John 14:23, part of which says; If a man love me, he will keep my words. I find it to be pretty much irrelevant as to whether or not they were saved prior, because they clearly are not now saved for they have chosen Satan over God, just as Eve did. Do you think Eve thought she would have to pack up and move? No! She thought things could go on as before, only better. So did those darting back and forth to the wide boulevard, but God says it isn't so.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; ~ Matthew 6:24 ~ Hebrews 3:14
The best that Satan has to offer is shown right up front. He wants you to think there is something better waiting behind what you see and Scripture tells us that sin has it's pleasure for a season (Hebrews 11:25) Being a lying and cunning deceiver, Satan uses the desire of our flesh for
something better to lure us into his trap which only leads to misery, compromise, and bondage in more sin. This causes a separation in fellowship with God (Romans 6:16).
Sadly, many people don't see the emptiness of it all because Satan has blinded them to the truth (John 12:40). They continue to put their hope and trust in the
prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) which is Satan. The folks who have so placed their trust are hoping that the next vice, or sin, will fill the void inside of them and Satan has convinced them that one day they will realize all their dreams and be happy.
After all, many say
I deserve a little happiness in this world. Folks, we were NOT put here to be happy or miserable or anything but the servants of Christ who said; ...be content with such things as ye have... Repeatedly in many different ways the message of the Bible is that this life is insignificant when compared to eternity. The Apostle put it like so;
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. ~ James 4:14
Another thing we should consider when pursuing personal comfort and
happiness, is the fact that we are not our own if we are a Christian for we are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). If anyone who has ever walked this earth DESERVED happiness and comfort it would be Jesus Christ for He committed no sins of His own, not one, but was willing to pay the price for yours and mine. A big part of Jesus' ministry He did not even know where He would lay His head that night (Matthew 8:20). The things, and the people on the big wide boulevard can never fill the void, they only bring a need for more and more. Jesus Christ is the only one who can bring contentment and peace to our lives. Only then can we know true and lasting happiness.
Jesus said we are to take up our cross and follow Him. I am afraid there are many who think that they are following Christ, but are only following a cleverly devised scheme of Satan. Multitudes will hear Jesus say;
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. ~ Matthew 7:23
The temptations that Satan throws our way cannot stand if we are truly in Christ, walking in the Spirit and seeking to please Him.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13
Notice he did not say God would snatch us out of the temptation! God has given us a free will to do as we please and all too often, deep down, we don't really want to turn away from that sin that is demanding a decision from us, but if we seek to do the desires of God THEN He will provide the way of escape. That means He provides the exit door, we still have to choose to walk through it or not. There is a reward promised to those who overcome;
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. ~ James 1:12
We are given examples and a WARNING in the tenth chapter of first Corinthians. Israel was under God's guidance and protection and they were identified and baptized unto Moses and the work he was doing. In other words they appeared to be following Moses lead as God commanded they do, and verse four goes on to tell us;
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:4
These who were going through all the motions apparently in full compliance, thought they were secure in their salvation due to these things and the keeping of the ordinances. The very next verse tells us;
But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:5
Overthrown here refers to ,q>killed. What had they done to so anger God? Twenty-three thousand fell in one day alone for the sin of fornication. Other sins were; tempting God, complaining, partying, and idolatry, to name only a few, They died in the wilderness, never reaching the promised land!
Well, you may say,
God did many things like that in the Old Testament before Grace. But wait friend, look at verse six, what does Paul say?
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:6
For our examples! Now jump down to verses eleven and twelve where we have a double warning:
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [examples]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:11-12
That is us folks, an example, serving as a warning to us, lest we also
fall in the wilderness and never see the promised land of Heaven!
Could it be more clear? This should help many to have a better idea of Grace, which is the fact that God does not just strike us down as He did the Israelites, instead He is long suffering with us and gives us an opportunity to repent. Again and again if necessary! God does not change, and He hates today what He hated yesterday. He is not turning a blind eye to our sin, and He is not excusing it and saying it is no longer sin because Jesus paid the price. Sin is still sin and God is still a holy God who hates sin. All unconfessed sin will be dealt with eventually, do not be fooled! Verse twelve bears repeating and should cause all of us to search ourselves and re-examine our relationship with Christ;
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12
Are YOU on the right road today, or are you trying to travel both roads? You must decide. If you are one of those who has a footpath between the broad boulevard and the narrow way, to do nothing and continue on is to remain in that fallen, sinful state that man is born into (Psalms 51:5). To follow Jesus' road that leads to everlasting life is to make a conscious decision to turn away from the sin in your life, to accept Jesus as the Lord, the ruler,
the boss, of your life. Jesus said that those who are not with Him are against Him (Matthew 12:30) so we know that to disobey Jesus Christ is to follow Satan and his demons into the eternal lake of fire, bringing upon oneself separation from all that is good.
If you've never taken Christ's road, or you have wandered off, I urge you, with Christ as your guide, choose a route on the map of life. THEN STAY ON THE ROAD! Remember you can not serve two masters. The fact that we cannot travel both roads is further stated;
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:21
Folks don't listen to Satan, he wants your soul whatever he has to tell you he will. Read God's Word, the Bible to find out for yourself, and if you hear it or read it, verify it by God's Word. If it doesn't sound right, it probably is not right and the Holy Spirit is trying to get your attention so you will check and see. The true Word of God is the only thing you can trust, and it is the only thing that can show you the true road you should be on.
Folks, I leave you with this prayer and admonition of Paul's
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. ~ Ephesians 4:17-18; 23-24; Ephesians 6:10-11