Monday, May 6, 2013

Of crossroads and mountain bikes...

Yesterday at church, my pastor preached on the narrow path and the wide path as found in Matthew 7, in the Sermon on the Mount. I've heard that passage preached a dozen times in my life, but I loved the fresh take my new pastor put on it. It made sense in a whole new way.

Don't you love when Scripture does that? That's the whole "God-breathed", "living book" stuff in action :)

My pastor pointed out how in the context Jesus was speaking during this sermon, he was instructing his listeners to pick a path. Choose already. The wide path is easy. Looks attractive. Plenty of room to take your baggage and burdens with you. Only problem is, it leads to an abyss. Death.

The narrow path, however, looks pretty scary. Looks like hard work. And it's narrow, all right - no room for burdens and baggage. You gotta leave that stuff at the crossroads and just go forward with Jesus. But it leads to joy. And life.

Lots of analogy there. Camp out for a minute and think about  that implication. About the specifics involved. I know I did.

Moving on.

I feel this passage is usually preached in regards to salvation - with the narrow path being salvation and choosing to walk with Christ, leading to Heaven, while the wide path represents the path of the world (the lost, unsaved, etc.) that ultimately leads to hell.

Maybe that's right. Maybe it does mean that. It's very fitting in that context.

But I can't help but see it in a new way today, see how it applies to believers. Because you can be saved and still choose the wide path that mingles with the world. You can be a Christian and a believer yet stray from the narrow path of God's will and wander around the wide one for a time. Sin and bad choices can easily detour us from narrow to wide.

And getting back on track is always harder the more often we stray from the narrow. Because we start to disbelieve the truth and promise of the narrow, and start longing for the ease of the wide. But the ending...oh the ending.

My pastor had a great illustration of when he was in college and went on a mountain biking trip out of town with some friends for a manly vacay. Being from Florida, they weren't used to HILLS, much less mountains. But they rented their bikes and gear and got dropped off at the top of the mountain to ride the multiple-mile trail down. Easy peasy, right? ;)

He said it was the worst trip of his entire life.

Long story short, they ended up losing one bike (thankfully, sans rider) down the side of the mountain. Broke other bikes, got lost, dehydrated  etc. Halfway through the trail they all hated life and hated each other and basically hated the entire world. (LOL!)

But one thing kept them going - the realization that there was no other way to safety except on that path. There were other roads they passed along the way, but they didn't lead to their car at the bottom of the mountain. They had to stay on the path they were on, regardless of how hard it was, regardless of how much it hurt, regardless of how scary it became, because it was the only way to life.

Yeah. Let that sink in.

There's so many believers today, and I'm going to venture out and say it - there's so many MEN today who have strayed to the wide path because the narrow got too tough. I'm not picking on men, many women have strayed too - but the men are being attacked the most and targeted the most because of their leadership role. It's just obvious. Look around you. Men are being coaxed off the narrow path and onto the wide. The enemy isn't random. He's intentional. Men being led astray starts a horrible domino effect.

I'm praying for multiple men to be turned back to the narrow path today. I'm talking about men who were once godly and God-fearing and active Christians. It's heart breaking.

Will you join me? Will you pray for revival for not just our country and for the church, but for men specifically, to take up the roles they're called to and stay the course?

Paul from the New Testament finished well. I'm looking around and right now, there's too many men who I love dearly who won't be able to say that if they stay their current course. Pray for God to awaken their leadership hearts, their warrior hearts, and forge the path with Jesus on the narrow road.

God, we ask in Jesus' name, give them eyes to see....

And don't forget to check your own heart. What is the narrow path God is calling you to that has you hesitating at the crossroads? This doesn't have to be salvation related. It doesn't even have to be anything deeply serious or spiritual. You know in your heart what topic or issue this post is tugging on you about. Let the Holy Spirit lead you there. And choose wisely.

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