Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.
~ Isaiah 30:21 ~
It was such a pleasant afternoon that I decided to walk to the local shopping center. I took a little luggage carrier to make the return trip easier. I pulled it uphill on my way and alternated arms so that my shoulders would not hurt.
On my return trip I pushed the carrier because it was too heavy to pull. The road was smooth and downhill, but the load of groceries made it steer every way except straight ahead. As a result of straining to keep it in front of me, my knees, not my shoulders, became inflamed and hurt badly.
While struggling to keep it straight, I began to think about people who refuse to submit to authority, regardless of the cost. The payment is in pain—to themselves and to those who love them. The Bible calls it “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23).
The problem with living our way is that the longer we keep at it, the more difficult it is to change direction. Coming to an end of ourselves is a struggle as the weight of sin compounds, and life becomes harder. One would think that it would be easier to turn to God, but it is not. David Guzik states it this way, “The longer we are rooted in a behavior the harder it is to uproot it – a principle that works both for good and evil.”
At one point in life, every person asks and answers this question: “Who am I going to love more—Myself? The World? God?”
The answer to that question determines how we live on earth, and where we will spend eternity. There is only one way—God’s highway, entered only through Jesus Christ.
We are told in Isaiah 35:8:
A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray. (NKJV)
Furthermore, Jesus said, in Matthew 7:13-14 and John 14:6:
You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. (NLT)
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (NKJV)
God’s instructions are clear and succinct; there is no wavering with Him. But God is gracious and merciful to the wayward–He does not want anyone to perish but that all repent (2 Peter 3:9). When someone dies without repenting, it does not bring Him any pleasure (Ezekiel 33:11). God is merciful, He does not want any of us to spend our lives or eternity without Him.
I lived “My Way” for too many years, yet God still loved me and rescued me from myself. In rescuing me, He showed mercy and exalted Himself. He loved me according to Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus Himself told Nicodemus that “God so loved the world…” Loved. Before Jesus gave Himself for us, before His resurrection, before the fall—God loved us! Who else has loved us like this?
Therefore, pray. Pray fervently for those who are living in rebellion to God. One day they may, unbeknownst to you “[stand] at a distance….not even look up to heaven, but beat [their] breast and [say], ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’” (Luke 18:13). He will hear them and respond to their cry for mercy.
Father, it is true—“the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
You are full of mercy and grace, and have infinite love and patience with the wayward who steer their own course in life. You loved us before You founded the world. I pray that we “being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19). In Jesus’ name, amen.