Do you set your GPS on a highways only setting, or when traveling, do you steer clear of the traffic and choose the backroads instead?
While on our spiritual journeys, our Holy Spirit GPS setting will determine whether we are developing into a mature, solid believers or folks getting by with the basics of faith. In my life’s wild and wooly journey, there have been times, I humbly admit, when I’ve chosen the easiest path possible. After all, efficiency matters, right?
In chapter six, the writer of Hebrews admonishes us to “press on” to maturity, developing a mature spiritual nature. In contemplating this call to action, I took a closer look a the following verses:
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.“
Luke 13:23-25 “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them. “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life? Broad is the road that leads to destruction? I need to reset my spiritual GPS to intentionally point me to the road less traveled.
Highways vs Paths
Highways host clear instructions, ease of joining, and a smooth, fast ride. Highways are easy to find. You can even set your GPS into highway mode, making sure your journey is always one of convenience. As fast-paced people, we love our highways!
When I was younger and had never heard of a GPS, I’d have an idea of the general location of the concert hall or ballpark I intended to visit. I never worried about the exact directions because I knew I could follow the crowd into the parking lot, or to the ticket desk. Easy, peasy. I trusted all those people pulling up wanted to go where I wanted to go.
Let’s talk Black Friday 5:00 am sales. When driving to one mall in the predawn hours, I’d pass another mall, see hordes of people lined up outside the store and think they knew something I didn’t. Making a hard turn, I would pull in and jump in line. Seriously. I was what my husband calls a sheeple – a crowd follower.
But paths. Paths are rarely traveled. Paths are more trails that tend to lead to places we aren’t sure we want to go. Unless it’s a state-park hiking trail, there are generally no rest stop signs or mileage markers letting you know how close you are to your destination. Paths are generally pot-holed, snaky, host unpredictable twists, and require well-working shock absorbers in order to travel. And paths, as a rule, don’t host overhead lighting for night travel. No wonder the number of folks traversing pathways are scarce.
And that’s just the point – paths are not traveled much. That’s why they are paths. Few people take them.
And according to our key Scriptures above, paths are not obvious. You can’t just hop on one at any junction in life. Jesus tell His disciples, “narrow is the road that leads to life and few find it.” He seems to suggest that we must hunt down this path that leads to life. We must search for it.
Once you do find it, chances are there won’t be a crowd to follow on this trail. Chances are, you’ll find yourself figuring out a few maneuvers on your own and may even be lonely at times. Again, this is the point. There isn’t going to be many people there.
And without road signs to point the way, you’re going to have to trust the Holy Spirit – not the car bumper in front of you – to be your guide. (John 16:13)
In these times of threatened persecution, confusing health messages, volatile politics, worldwide upheavals, and rumors of another wave of pandemics sure to come, I find myself being misunderstood and sometimes rejected as current issues polarize not only good and evil, but folks I thought were on the same page as me.
I look around, feeling more and more like I don’t belong here.
Paths don’t sound convenient. Or safe.
But when did Christianity become about convenience and safety?
I’m Adding “Pathwalker” to My Name
Again, paths can be lonely at times. Trusting someone I can’t see (the Holy Spirit) can be scary. And though the Word promises to be the lamp for my feet, there are times when I just don’t know what the next step is. If I’m not careful, I can be tempted to run back for the well-lit highways.
Pathways are not for wimps.
Pathways are for heroes. Unsung heroes.
I have to get on and stay on my path.
If you’re not currently on a ruddy path but stuck in the middle of a convenient highway with everyone else somewhere, get off and start looking for your narrow gate. That gate will probably have the sign “Trial,” or “Overcoming Fear,” or “Get Outside Your Comfort Zone,” hung above it. But you got this. Jesus is with you every step of the difficult way.
That crowd out there on the highway – they are headed for destruction. Become a pathwalker and find your way to true life!
If I perish, I perish,
L. G. Pathwalker Westlake