As a story teller, there was no one better during the first century than Jesus. Appealing to visual learners, Jesus painted vivid pictures allowing the minds of listeners to follow along with each word. Nearing the end of his sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gives those in attendance two choices. There are two different roads that you can follow in this life. One leads to addiction, the other toward freedom. You may have a great time on the popular path, but in the end you’ll be left with an eternal hangover. Meanwhile, the path less traveled is a difficult journey, but the benefits to staying the course are eternal.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it,” Matthew 7:13-14.
After Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, one of Jesus’ disciples goes into greater detail about the broad road that leads to destruction. John refers to emotions that keep individuals ensnared, paralyzed by lustful desires. These cravings distract souls from any standards that they may have held, kept or were raised with prior to turning on to this interstate. Lust, sensual desires and pride tend to blind those ashamed, guilty or filled with remorse by this change of course. Unfortunately, the longer anyone stays on the path to addiction, the harder it becomes to leave for good.
Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever, 1 John 2:15-17.
Instead of typical road signs that you may see everyday, the pathway to freedom contains God’s precepts. These nuggets of truth preach an alternative message from the flashy advertisements on the highway to hell. Words such as serve, surrender and selfless appeal to those searching for something deeper, pondering the meaning of life. The further you travel along this barren road, the narrower it becomes. Ideally, accountability partners, friends and mentors will encourage you to choose freedom over temporary pleasures. To persist, press on and demonstrate resolve. In the end, the choose is yours. I’ll leave you with Moses’ farewell address to Israel, Deuteronomy 30:19, choose life.
by Jay Mankus