Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

If you have ever tried to navigate through a blizzard, a blanket of thick fog, smoke, or a dust storm, you know how fearful it can be. The same holds true for driving in the pitch dark along a country road during a rainstorm, with a lousy windshield and wipers to match. I’ve been there many a time when I lived in Western Washington. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle I’m still here. In situations such as these, you may have your eyesight, but you can only see just enough to know you can’t see. All you can think about at such a time is finding a safe place to hole up until it clears enough to be able to safely continue your journey. Such an experience has the power to cause a person to realize how small, helpless, and vulnerable they really are in the scheme of things.

Journeying through life can be a lot like “driving blind” for those who are lost and without Christ. Such people cannot tell you why they are here, or where they are going. Therefore, they automatically look to the world to fill in the blanks for them and give them some sort of purpose, or meaning for their existence. However, all the world has to offer is vanity and pride. None of it can truly satisfy the longing soul, heal the brokenhearted, or give purpose and meaning to life. The world cannot offer hope when passing through the “valley of the shadow of death,” nor can it offer forgiveness, and everlasting joy, peace, and love.

When we talk about the world, we are not referring to God’s beautiful creation, but to the Satanic systems of this world. These systems make up the broad path that leads to destruction. Jesus warned in Matthew 7:13-14,“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 thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” What we need to beware of is that this broad path can appear, to our “natural eyes,” to be bright, beautiful, logical, wise, desirable, pleasurable, and right. The broad path seems to be the route to choose, especially when a person is young and full of energy and ideas that may lead to fame and fortune. The broad path playfully beckons the youth to taste of its pleasures, while tantalizing their senses and emotions with the possibilities of experiences and sensations yet to be tasted. It lures the unsuspecting by stirring up their “youthful lusts,” and in a light and teasing manner subtly mocks and scorns the things of God. Such roadblocks as truth, holiness, reverence, purity and godliness are not to be found on this smooth highway to hell. From all appearances, it is the perfect path. After all, most people choose to travel this road. Isn’t that proof enough that it is the right, normal, and intelligent thing to do?

Of course, the wide path offers a broad spectrum of every belief, philosophy, and religion known to prideful man except true Christianity. Anyone traveling the broad path can easily find and become involved with any practice, tradition, religion, or church he or she desires. It’s all there for the taking, in plain sight, ranging from atheism to paganism to various forms of witchcraft. How people live their life, what their goals and agendas are, is up to them. The broad path, unlike the rigid narrow path, is flexible. One can change it to suit oneself. The broad path appears to the natural man to be well-lit; however, the source of this light is Satan, an “angel of light” (see 2 Corinthians 11:14).

While those who travel this broad highway believe they can see, the truth is, the false light is total and utter darkness. The line between truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil, life and death is blurry. The end for those “driving blind” on the broad road is destruction, death, and ultimately the judgment of God, unless somehow, by God’s grace and divine intervention, a person traveling on this path suddenly realizes that things are becoming blurry, and he or she cannot see. Such is the story of John Newton, slave trader turned Christian, who wrote the beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.” The epitaph on John Newton’s gravestone says: “JOHN NEWTON, Clerk [preacher] Once an infidel and libertine A servant of slaves in Africa, Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, restored, pardoned and appointed to preach the Gospel which he had long laboured to destroy. He ministered, Near sixteen years in Olney, in Bucks, And twenty eight years in this Church.” Written by John Newton, it is engraved on a marble plaque in St Mary, Woolnoth, UK.

Praise be to God, God knows what it will take in the lives of the “heirs of salvation” for them to wake up, look up, give up, and change direction. The Apostle Paul wrote, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4. Therefore, we must continue in prayer for the lost, and “sanctify the Lord God in [our] hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh…a reason of the hope that is in [us] with meekness and fear” 1 Peter 3:15.  And, we need to preach the gospel to the lost “for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”. (SeeRomans 1:16.) Note that the power of God to save sinners is the gospel, not  signs and wonders, entertainment, professionalism in the so-called “worship” services of most churches today, or in the charisma of the pastor.

Compared to the “wide and broad” way, the “straight and narrow” is hard to find. Jesus said that many would“seek to enter in, and shall not be able” Luke 13:24b. There is only one way to enter through the “strait gate” on to the narrow road, and that is through Jesus Christ. He is the “gate” or the “door” and the only entrance to the narrow road. (See John 10.) In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the  life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” We need to let this sink down into our spirits: there is no other way in which to enter the narrow path—not through religion, church membership, good works or humanism. Those following Jesus on the narrow path have faith in Him, not faith in faith, faith in their doctrines, faith in some leader, or faith in themselves.

      There are those who try to navigate onto this road without first entering in through the gate, for they cannot accept the fact that there is only one way that is acceptable to God. Such people prefer to believe their own conclusions as to the way to God and eternal life; thus, they develop and construct their own road, beginning with redefining who Jesus is. This road may run parallel to the narrow way, but there is no price to pay, no self-denial or sacrifice of self, and no challenge to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. There is no criteria demanding love for the truth, challenge to seek the truth, or commitment to cling to the truth. Thus, it may appeal to a greater number of people, and it may outwardly offer a “smoother ride” that is less offensive than the straight path, but it is a false way. The true servant of God hates every false way (see Psalm 119:104) for it is devoid of truth and life. A false way is a way that lacks understanding—it  is “driving under blurry conditions” that leads to destruction. In reality this shallow and deceptive “easy street” is nothing more than the broad path that leads to destruction. (See Matthew 7:21-23.)

How are we to see and have clear vision as we travel upon this narrow road? Psalm 119:105 tells us how we can clearly see as we travel down the straight road, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” Psalm 119:130.  In Proverbs 6:23we read, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4. Thus, we have a sure and unfailing light, and perfect “road map” to guide us.

But, we are not left alone to make our way, day by day, down this narrow road. We are following behind Someone. How many times have you driven at night down an unfamiliar road that was under construction, full of chuck holes, and where wildlife threatened to loom in front of you at any moment? We have been in such situations, and the one thing that we truly appreciate is when there is another vehicle in the lead that seems to be familiar with the treacherous terrain. On the narrow road, there is One in whom we can trust at all times, for He has gone before us. In this life, He calls us, as He did His disciples when He said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” Matthew 4:19. Therefore, we can expect Him to teach us “how to fish” as we travel down this road.

As we follow behind Him on this road, we need not fear darkness for He promised, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” John 8:12. Not only shall we be able to see, but we shall also be able to hear. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” John 12:26. Will there be suffering on this narrow road? Yes. The Apostle Peter encourages us with these words,“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” 1 Peter 2:21. The Apostle John explained how we are to travel on this path, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” 1John 2:6.

Without truth our vision can become cloudy, and the lines blurry. Yet, we have not been left to helplessly grope our way through the fog of confusion, doubt, and unbelief, but have been given a Guide. Jesus promised,“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” John 16:13.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church , “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” 1 Corinthians 13:12, 13. Therefore, as we travel this narrow road, following the Lord, guided by His Spirit, obeying His Word, and trusting His promises, we long for that day when we no longer must pass through those times when our vision is threatened by the trials and tribulations that we encounter. Instead, we can press on knowing that as the days grow darker, the brightness of His coming draws nearer when He shall appear, dispelling all darkness, and filling the earth with His glory. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!