UCAN sharing: You can’t get there from here.
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9-11
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Matt. 7:13
Sojourner: A person who resides temporarily in a place.
In the story of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is trying to get home and is told to follow the yellow brick road. She does and eventually this leads her to find the true answer on how to get home. But what if Dorothy had not believed or had attitude that made her not wanted to go the way of the yellow brick road? What if she had chosen another path, perhaps she would have never made it home. In our spiritual walk we must come to trust and surrender all of our life to God if we want to reach the life he is offering. When we hold back it provides the means that leads us to want to go on other paths apart from what God wants. What must clearly be understood is that only one way leads to where we truly need to go. Jesus says that only through him can we reach the Father (Jn. 14:6). So no other path we cling to in this life will lead to the life in God’s kingdom. In fact, the other paths which will appeal to us can’t deliver and will never bring us to true fulfillment. Only a surrendered life given to Christ can walk out the narrow way.
There are often many ways to arrive at a destination. The path we select determines the nature of the journey. How we select that path is determined by what we believe. If we want to go to place A and we consider the possible ways, we will choose the one that appeals to us most. In one path, there might be delays so we won’t travel that way. Another way is too long and takes us far out of our way. Yet another way gets us there but we need to travel through some hard places. What we are looking for is a way that meets our requirements and is desirable to us as well. Selecting this path can be difficult.
When we choose a path we release faith in to it. If to get to place A we choose path 3 which goes through quiet neighborhoods but is reliable then what we are saying is that we trust in this path to accomplish what we want, arrive at place A. In releasing faith we now put our hope in many things. We trust that our vehicle will not break down, we trust that we won’t get lost, we trust that the way will be safe and without obstacles like accidents and construction. In our Christian walk we do the same. We choose what we will do based on what we believe and to what extent. We have the power to choose what path we take. What we don’t have is the power to see the best way. We can see that even in a simple example like this a lot of variables go in to making the journey work but there is always the possibility that we have chosen wrong.
Two factors impact the result of our life journey, sin and the resulting consequences. Sin is when we do what we want despite the will of God. In other words we make the decisions regardless of what God wants. We choose the way and when and how placing faith in ourselves. Because of our fallen nature we are tainted so that all we do is broken. No matter how hard we try to select the best way we can’t. Every path in life we choose apart from God’s perfect will is imperfect and worse it is filled with the fruit of our carnal nature which consists of lust, greed, envy, slander and immoralities of all kind (Gal. 5:19-21). We are not able to see the best way and so are forced to make choices using our limited reason, experience and emotions. This is the product of sin. It always produces death and always destroys. This is something we can’t change or overcome. Whenever we walk in life on our own we will face hardship, pain and loss without recourse. Why? Adam made that choice in the Garden. He chose to sin rather than remain in perfection. God says in Gen. 3:17-19 that because of Adam’s choice there will exist a curse on the ground. It will not yield it goodness easily and there will be obstacles in getting that sustenance with the final conclusion being we die. Through sin, death, toil and hardships entered man’s life. This brings us to the second factor, consequences.
Sin happens outside God’s perfect will where darkness exist. Nothing birthed of evil can produce right so all that is of sin will produce bad fruit. The consequences of sin are harsh, destructive and can’t be undone. Consider the consequences to Adam. Once he was in perfection. Existing in perfect harmony and being close to God. Adam’s sin separated him from God and gave him uncertainty, struggles, hardship and death. Once Adam had sinned there was no turning back what had been done. He was banished from the Garden. When we sin the consequences remain. God will forgive us if we confess but He leaves the consequences. Take King David after he had committed adultery and murder. He receives Bathsheba as his wife but God tells him through the prophet that the child she is pregnant with will die. David lies on the temple floor without eating for days seeking the child’s life but in the end the child dies. Did God do this? No, it was the result of the sin of David (2 Sam.12:13-18). If a person sins the result of that sin no matter what remains.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 6:23
So sin and its consequences impact how we move along our life journey. We will pick up all sorts of painful experiences that leave powerful memories and we have to carry the results of all our sins. These hurts and hard experiences change how we think. Our thoughts, without God’s leading, reflect our carnal nature. From dark thoughts come dark actions. Cain is a good example. He hated and was hurt that God accepted Abel’s offering and not his. God reached out to him but Cain held to his evil thoughts and murdered (Gen.4). When we walk outside of God’s perfect will we fall prey to our own evil.
A person who comes to Christ is freed from this cycle. Rom. 12:2 tells us to no longer follow the way this world thinks but be transformed by the changing of our minds. God desires to put in our hearts the truth that sets men free from themselves. But we walk with Christ in free will. At any time a Christian can say no to the Holy Spirit and He will stop. This means we must consistently say yes to what God is doing in us at that moment. We are called to walk with God in the only way to Him but if we choose we can step off at any moment. This is a matter of heart and Peter explains that we are to live our lives here in this life as if we don’t belong here but are traveling through so that we can remain with Christ. We are not to get lost and entangled by sin but stay to the straight and narrow. Why? Because this is the only way to gain life. We must understand that nothing here in this life can satisfy no matter how pleasurable it may appear to us. We may gain fame, pleasure and all we want but we lose our souls and the connection we can have with God.
26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matt. 16:26
God wants us to see the greater picture. Nearly everyone is seeking something out of life. Jesus calls men to follow Him and live now for Him that they may be part of what is coming next. What is coming is God’s Kingdom where He will reign as Lord. It will be a perfect Kingdom where all the things that rob life will no longer exist. We will live forever in God’s presence knowing Him and his love. This is a place of eternal joy, peace and righteousness. It is what all men want but no all men are willing to walk now life on God’s path to get there.
Jesus tells us to weigh the cost of our choices and see that what God is offering is vastly superior (Lk. 14:28). He is not afraid of what the world offers because it is all passing away. Take time to ask yourself what path are you on? Do you live to see Jesus return or are you too involved here? Are you making your own way in life? Making the decisions without truly submitting to God? Can God ask you to “Go” anywhere and anytime?
Dorothy made it home because she wanted to get home and was willing to follow. Are you? Or are you traveling paths that won’t get you there. Pray and ask God to show you, then seek Jesus.