Why is Staying on the Right Path So Hard…
February 4, 2016
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:3-4 (KJV)
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
When I first moved to Denver, i-25 confused me. You see, I would get on I-25 going northbound down by the office and drive north. Then somehow the North-south streets that I was becoming familiar with were intersecting the interstate at right angles and I didn’t remember the road curving! “Am I going West now? Where did the road curve?”
Well, the answer of course was that “Yes, you are going west now!” and that the curve in the road was just after Hampton when things got a little backed up and the curve back north is when things get backed up again where lots of construction is taking place. Long and short of it is, because of congestion and other distractions, you don’t really know that the road changes… you are suddenly on a new course without even knowing it!
Lots of roads are like this. They have subtle curves that pile up to send you off in different directions without your recognizing it. You add into that crossroads coming in at different angles, traffic that needs to be navigated and the inevitable confusing signage and it’s easy for us to end up headed in the wrong direction, to end up lost.
And yes, I’m not just talking about navigating the streets of Denver here. It’s also true that navigating the paths of righteousness, the way of God, and just our way through life that the streets get confusing and curve without us ever noticing and we can end up lost as well. Oh, I’m not talking so much here about eternal salvation as I am simply being the person that God wants us to be. It seems that we need to constantly be correcting and adjusting on this journey to becoming that unique and new creation described in Scripture. Often the path that seems the easiest, just like the lane that moves the quickest, takes you off at the wrong exit, in the wrong direction and into more trouble than you were counting on.
So how do we stay on the right path? Well, as in driving we need to:
- Trust the GPS– I often find myself getting in trouble when I don’t trust the map or the GPs that I am consulting. And in life, I find myself getting in trouble when I don’t trust the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Update the Maps often – When the GPS is wrong, often it is because I have an old Map. And when the leading of the Spirit is wrong in my life, it is often because I am not spending enough time in Scripture to allow the Spirits voice to be clear.
- Be Patient with the process – My family tells me I am not the most patient of people, especially in traffic! To my chagrin, they are probably right. Often I find myself getting in the wrong land and being taken down the wrong exit just because I am impatient with my progress on the road. But the reality is that all journeys take time, and we must learn to enjoy the journey as much as the destination we seek. Sounds right both for road trips and for life!
Prayer: Lord, as you lead us in the paths of righteousness, even when we stubbornly take the paths in the valley of the shadow of death, help us to listen to your voice, to avoid the confusion that exists in our world and follow you on that narrow path that leads to life everlasting. Amen.
Reverend Dr. Steve Van Ostran