[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]T[/mk_dropcaps]oo much of anything can be bad. It is human nature to operate on a pendulum. Sometimes we are one extreme, something happens, and then we swing to the other end of the spectrum. Think of dieting. We indulge every craving and then have to diet and avoid all the food that got us there to begin with. That is no way to live! As a Christian, or simply a healthy human being we must learn to swing only within the “narrow” path that is in alignment with God’s principles and truth (Matthew 7:13-14). That path is not an extreme of behaviors, thoughts or actions but rather a special recipe and blend of them. Where do you fall in the spectrum? As I have been asking myself this question frequently, it has revealed many of my faults. Yet, at the same time, knowing where I stand brings me to a place of more confidence, peace and joy. This is not brought by my strength but where God is leading me in this journey. There is no one recipe that is best, merely one that keeps Jesus forever as the master of your life. What He says and when He says it is what goes. That is obedience to His word. Somehow, when you do this, things end up working out.
I am not saying everything works out well and perfectly every time. In fact, quite the contrary. What I am saying is that you will get through whatever you face, you’ll be stronger for it, closer to Jesus, and have the authority to guide others down a path you’ve been on yourself. God turns pain into purpose.
Often, our human nature requires we learn by going to the edge of the narrow path, or even crossing it when we are stubborn, to define the edges. This helps keep our compassion alive for others in their mess and flaws as we, ourselves, so often make mistakes.
Here are some of the areas that are difficult to find where the lines fall on the narrow path:
- Be humble and yet confident.
- Love and speak truth.
- Worship God alone and love His people.
- Be tenacious in prayer yet patient with the process.
- Seek wisdom yet possess childlike faith.
- Influence the world without being influenced by it.
- Forgive others and have healthy boundaries.
When you stop and think about each of these things, they are all paradoxes. I don’t know about you but I often feel like a hypocrite. Actually I will just say it, I am one. I am human. The narrow path is a hard one to follow; it is not impossible, but difficult. We are hypocrites as we journey along, discovering where this narrow path actually is. The sad thing is our human nature often seduces us by the instant gratification of certain behaviors and we end up camping in a place we could have only walked by, not through. It’s never God’s intent for us to stay in that place. We may have moments of being a hypocrite, but with God we do not have to camp there. Praise God we have His grace and guidance to find the way out. His word is a light for our path and a lamp for our feet. Imagine if we all had ears to hear the still small voice of God louder than any other voice and we obeyed him in that moment? A lot of the issues we each face would diminish in size and frequency. The world would not be able to discount the power and magnetism of His church. We’d have more joy, more peace, and would model the love of Christ more powerfully.
This sounds dangerously close to striving so let me cancel that thought right away. What I am illustrating is that we must accept there are things we only can learn by walking out. As we walk there is no guarantee of an outcome or understanding of how long it will take to get there, we only have the certainty of victory in the end. It is my genuine belief that by trusting the voice of our Lord we will be on the narrow path, making mistakes along the way and all! He already knows our capacity is imperfect. I am thankful that it is faith that pleases the Lord and He takes the ordinary and the mundane we do in faith and transforms it into extra-ordinary. He is always speaking. Go with the simplest next step toward your dream and realize His miraculous power moves in our imperfection. You will be on the narrow path. You do not work to get there, but rather it is by HIS grace that we operate in that zone.
What is the Lord speaking to you today about your path?