PATH OF LIFE
I wish to encourage everyone who has decided to read this to enter every day on the "narrow road" and through the "narrow gate". Do not only set the "narrow gate" as a final destination, but have it as your starting point and the pathway you choose to take when challenges come your way. Jesus taught - "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." (Matt. 7:12-14)
The word Path or Paths is spoken of much in Scripture. Although the Christian adheres to an overall Christ-like Path - Paths, plural, are mentioned as transitions, chapters and/or lessons in life. As a transition Job speaks about death when he says, "Only a few years will pass before I take the path of no return." (Job 16:22) David, in his infamous Psalm 23, talks about how Paths are chapters in our lives; deviations or changes to us but the same Path or Plan to God - "He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake." Then David continues the analogy with Paths pictured as lessons we learn along life's journey, like patience, faith, generosity and kindness. David said - "Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths." (Psalm 25:4)
Paths can be narrow and wide, curvy or straight, smooth or bumpy, obstacle filled or not. However, Paths are usually depicted as our Navigation of whatever is presented before us. Numbers 22:32 says, "The angel of the Lord asked him, 'Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.'" In this case Balaam's navigation of what was in his life or on his path was "reckless".
So, we pray or sing like David about the choices we are to make as we walk along our path of life. "Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors." (Psalm 27:11) "Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight." (Psalm 119:35)
The key to a more straight, smooth path with clear-cut decisions at the divided-road section of your path is The Word of God in your life. Want to walk a more pure lifestyle? Psalm 119:9 says, "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word." This works for older people too. Want to stay away from a decision that takes you down a path not meant for your life? Obey God's Word - "I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word." (Psalm 119:101) Want your decisions to be clear about anything and everything as you navigate your path? Solomon encourages us to - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-7) Do you desire revelation for right now in life-matters and vision for the long term? David says, in Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Lamp being for your short-term vision and light being for the future vision.
In all that we do, in all that we say, in all that we think - God's gaze is upon us. The first part of Proverbs 5:21 confirms this by saying, "For your ways are in full view of the Lord,". However, the second part of the verse has God focusing on my development by stating, "and he examines all your paths.". The word "examines" here not only means to observe for faults, it also means to test. Notice the word exam in the word "examines" - an observation of someone or something while undergoing some form of trial.
The great news is that God - The Observer, The Tester on our Path of Life is also our Construction Worker when the road is cluttered and rough with physical, mental and spiritual challenges. The Path is narrow so that we know our boundaries and know our only go-to is Christ Jesus, The Word of God. Remember, He said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) So, while we are on this journey, let us not sprint through the situations and circumstances of each day, but as Paul said, "let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us," (Hebrews 12:1), this way we will know our true Path Of Life.