The Christian life is called “the straight and narrow.” And, until this morning, I always pictured it as a well-paved road, or perhaps a pounded-dirt path, heading directly to our destination. But what if it’s not?
Another term that’s used is a phrase from a poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, refers to “the road less traveled” which “makes all the difference.”
In the poem, and perhaps in our minds, we see two paths that each offer something attractive. But one, is narrower, and straighter … and less trodden.
The Christian life, however, is one of absolute surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our life. It grows in its devotion and affection toward the only one who deserves our strongest devotion, God.
This path is not only less traveled, but it appears foolish to the scores of our peers who set off on the well-established path of success. Even religious folks will have a path that is proven and true. One that doesn’t make its followers outcasts from society.
It leads to the mountains and is rather straight. Plus, there are plenty of people who have also chosen this straight, if not narrow path. It’s tried and true. It has the respect and recognition of human rights organizations and has support from politicians.
It’s rougher than the paved thoroughfares of the city, but not too rough.
Of course, when these travelers hit the mountains, they will find it very difficult if they choose the steep, narrow path that leads up the slope. For such people, there is another way.
This path leads up the mountain. At times it is steep. But it’s wide enough to avoid falling off the side, and smoothly paved to make the journey feel prosperous and invigorating.
But, this isn’t the straight and narrow. While the hard-packed path to this point was straight, perhaps, it wasn’t narrow. The ease of that path, the common “Christian,” will lead to hopping into a car to take the wide, winding road the rest of the way.
Everyone is doing it. You don’t want to be socially awkward!
Unfortunately, the path of Christ is littered with rocks, steep up the hill of Golgotha, narrow and poorly maintained. It’s an arduous climb up that Mount Moriah where we’re asked to surrender the very son whom we love to show our devotion to the God who loves us truly.
This path looks like foolishness to everyone around. All those on the paved road will tell you they have the same destination at the top. Come down and join them! Why suffer this way?
Truth be told, their words ring true. The path is hard. The climb is steep. We fall and cut ourselves. We are reminded of our weakness and our deep need. We don’t feel victorious at all times. But we stay the course because of One who strengthens us. He reminds us that He trod these narrow paths and suffered in our place. He bore the ridicule of the people He loved and for whom He died. His Spirit affirms our faith and restores our hope, giving us a taste of the victory we’ll experience at the top.
This is just a journey, and it’s very short.
But it’s very narrow. Very steep. Very stony. And very straight.