In the bible there are a lot of different passages that refer to the wide gate and the narrow gate or the wide and narrow path to heaven. I was thinking about my many trips up and down the East Coast of the US. I usually took I-95 but I heard of a lot of people that have also gone up the Appalachian Trail and this got me thinking. This is very much like the challenge Christians face and following God’s rules or laws. as we call them. I once did a study and a paper on the parables in the Gospels and the scenario sets up very much like a parable.
If you think of it I-95 is like the wide path. It is easy to drive on and is always plenty of food, hotels, and anything else that you want to do on the way up making it a very easy trip. To go from Florida to Maine only takes a few days if you drive continuously. Even with taking a lot of stops you’re still talking less than a week. Very much like living the way of the world. Ephesians sets it up very well.
Ephesians 2:2-3; In which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
The Appalachian trail, on the other hand, is a whole different ball-game. It starts in Springer Mountain in Georgia and ends at the base of Mount Katahdin in Maine. It goes through 14 states, is over 2200 miles long, and takes about four months to hike from start to finish. It also warns us of some very rough travel, possibly very hazardous, with rocks and moss that can be very slippery at times. Also depending on the time of the year weather and temperature including snow can also add to the difficulty.
To me this is very much like the Christian walk. We have to be totally focused on the word of God just like on the trail we have to understand and respect nature. Between the 10 Commandments and the rule set before us in the Bible I feel that they are not as much laws as signs guarding the way. Just like in life, the trail or road as the signs to guide us. If we don’t listen to them we get a lot of trouble, even lost in all meanings of the word. On I-95 and the Appalachian Trail not only can we get in deep trouble if we don’t listen to them we can easily lose our life. Isaiah stated it so wisely
Isaiah 35:8 – And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
When following Christ the fact is, blessing and hardship are not mutually exclusive. The disciples “left everything” to follow Christ, and the Lord promised them “a hundred times as much” blessing in return (Mark 10:28-30). Jesus warned that all who follow Him must deny themselves and bear a daily cross (Luke 9:23). Hardship, to be sure, but hardship with a purpose and leading to the joy of the Lord.
Followers of Christ also face resistance from the world. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus did not promise His disciples that everything would be coming up roses for them; just the opposite- He promised that they would have trials in this world (John 16:33). “But take heart!” He told them, “I have overcome the world.”
God’s moral laws have been written on the heart of every human – giving all people a conscience to aid them in determining wrong from right (Romans 2:14-15). When a person becomes a follower of Christ, he not only has God’s laws in his heart, but he also has the indwelling Holy Spirit to compel him toward living righteously (Romans 8:11). This in no way means the Christian will stop sinning, but it does mean the Christian will become more aware of his own personal sin and have a genuine desire to do what is pleasing to Christ (Romans 8:14-16).
Do not forget, the choice of which road we take is always ours. God gives us the freedom to choose. Then based on our choice we receive either a blessing or curse. Joshua 24:15 says – “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
There will be no excuses in Heaven, none whatsoever. If you love the Lord you will commit to Him. You only have one chance. It’s either Paradise or torment. God is always good and a good judge must punish the criminal. Whoever wants to keep their life will lose it. Stop being part of the world, deny yourself, and take up the cross daily.
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