It is written that the road to true life in Christ is narrow, implying it being difficult to follow. In America today the word ‘difficult’ doesn’t do justice to the true nature of how ‘difficult’ the narrow road is.
In some ways the Christian walk is clear, by no means easy, but none-the-less simple: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew7:12 or “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”1 Corinthians10:31 Yes, we understand the reality of this being unbelievably complex and deep, but more importantly, it is concise and basic. So much so that without getting into the intricacies of knowing what’s really best, even a child can understand this and act accordingly.
In other ways the Christian walk is impossible: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Matthew 22:37 A command that begs countless questions, of which only seem to complicate an already complicated command. What does it mean concerning your heart? How are your soul and mind different? While arguments exist for these perplexing questions, I am not going to get into that now.
In every way though, the Christian walk is complex: involving the truth of the Bible as well as the knowledge and wisdom of this world. When clear in the Bible, we don’t hesitate to know what path to walk but rather struggle to walk it. When not completely clear in the Bible but rather ideological, such as throughout the Psalms where David exclaims “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” and “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”Psalm130:5 we will struggle to know exactly how that applies to us. What does it even mean to wait? When should we wait? How long should we wait? Where do we have a responsibility to act instead of wait?
There are a plethora of questions and concerns that Christians face every single day, many of which have become habit or routine and are not necessarily considered. But there are many more questions if we are truly walking with the Lord and seeking his will in everything that we do that have to constantly be asked throughout every minute of every day. Let alone during the times of life where seemingly monumental decisions need to be made.
Examples of everyday decisions may include: Will we be joyful throughout the day? Will we smile warmly at a stranger regardless of my attitude? Will we will buy the clothes we need or those which we want? Will we spend time loving others or time nurturing ourselves? Will our needs come first or the poor and needy? Will we look at that attractive person lustfully? Will we use words that are vile and crude? Will we sacrifice sleep in order to make time to spend with the Lord and reading the Bible during a busy schedule?
Examples of monumental decisions may include: Where will we go to college? Will we get married? Will we have children right away? Will we use some form of birth control? Will we move far away from family, friends, and a church community when offered a much higher paying job or for warmer weather? Will our cars and houses be what we can afford or what we want to have?
These questions are but a few of the hundreds and thousands of decisions Christians face where most of the world understands the answers to be quite clear: make good money, do what makes you happy and be comfortable. Chase it with everything you’ve got and then some… Get yours.
Among many non-Christians and Christians alike the answers to these questions come from a very reasonable perspective that pursues responsibility as a mature adult, stewardship of what one possesses and acting on what one believes they are capable of handling. Considering scientific and technical advances, as well as historic knowledge, many of the answers that those holding this perspective conclude, truly are good and biblical, but some are not.
So how should Christians answer these questions?
There is a line that Christian’s face which has never been faced to the same degree as it has today: conventional thinking and wisdom as it is currently understood versus a biblical thinking and wisdom as it is understood in the Bible and throughout history. The degree that this has been dealt with becomes more severe every day as the world advances, which makes today the most severe and this will only continue.
Apart from biblical guidance and the Spirit of God inside us, we will get lost. We will cave to the pressure of living as the world does, heeding only the world’s wisdom and acting on the values it holds.
Now for the exciting, encouraging part!
Taking the narrow Christian road involves copious amounts of prayer and looking to the Lord as well as the advice of elders and parents. If we really believe God hears our prayers, as the authors of the Bible did, we would recognize the power that is in prayer that is fervently relying upon God acting.
In a way, prayer is the most difficult thing we can do. It involves waiting, trusting, and sacrificing our time, all things in which we are very bad at doing. We could be doing something to help benefit us or make things easier, yet what has the most power of anything we ‘could’ be doing, is prayer.
I have heard it said, ‘You are never higher than when you are on your knees,’ and if God is who He says he is, and if prayer is what God says it is, then we truly can be no higher than when we humble ourselves to prayer. Confessing our inadequacies to Him and asking for help will ALWAYS be better than what we can do on our own accord.
In that light, we pray! We walk in faith that this narrow path we traverse is much too difficult for us to stay on alone, yet not so for God. Every step we take, every corner, every hill, should be first and foremost done in prayer. Walking humbly before our God in dependence upon Him. Never stopping or turning back, but walking; acting in faith upon the things we know and walking in prayer for everything else.