The Path by Rocky Fleming
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalms 119:105 (NLT)
I continue to be amazed by the simple but profound guidance that this passage gives to me. It tells me what the path of God is, and if I’m walking on it. God’s word does this for me. About this path, Jesus said in Matthew 7:14 that this road is difficult to travel on, and few find it. Why is this? I think they are looking for an easy path without challenges or alterations to their life. Jesus made it clear that His path will be difficult. But not impossible.
When I read passages such as this my mind goes to trying to understand metaphorically and truthfully what the passage is saying. To do this I need to make a personal application. Allow me to do this now, and hopefully it will stimulate such application to your life.
I see this path Jesus speaks of to be very narrow, much like what mountain climbers have to walk on with a narrow ridge that falls to disaster on each side of the path. As long as they are on the narrow path, they are safe. But to stray from the narrow path on either side will lead away from the safety and security that the narrow path offers.
I call this path the “Grace Path,” for it is there that I learn to abide and travel through life with Jesus. It’s the best place for me to be. God Himself said to Paul that His grace was sufficient for anything He would face, and to just keep relying on it (2 Corinthians 12:9). This is the “Grace Path” to me. It is a place of all sufficiency for all things that I will ever face.
The “Grace Path” is hard to understand, and it is easy to stray from it because of it. On each side of it are dangers that takes us far from this narrow path. On one side there is a perversion in the understanding of grace and that side is called, “License to Sin.” On the opposite side of the narrow path is “Legalism.” Both of these dangerous alternatives are produced because Grace is not fully understood and appreciated.
“License to Sin” is an abuse of Grace and it will be punished, for it perverts a precious gift from God that is given to desperate people. God is holy and He wants us to live holy lives. Jesus said in Matthew 18:6 that those who pervert and teach people erroneous and blasphemy of biblical truths are false teachers and a millstone around their neck would be a better alternative when they are held into account by Him (Mathew 18:6). That is a serious threat that we need to all heed in our own lives if we think grace is a license to sin.
Equal with Christ’s displeasure with the “License to Sin” side is the other side, “Legalism.” This is a side that rejects His grace and will not allow grace to have its perfect result in our lives. It is about keeping rules and controls to reduce the risk of sin in ours or the lives of others. It is Christian Pharisaism, if there is such a thing, and those who feel that legalism is the only way to walk with Christ miss the narrow path as much as the other side. Are you beginning to see why Jesus said the path will be difficult? We must learn to walk is such a way that we enjoy the freedom in Christ that His grace gives to us without abusing it, and also follow the precepts of God without making them rules and regulations that turn to legalism taking us far from His grace.
About the narrow path, the fall away from center can be very gentile, even imperceptibly so. We don’t see it coming, for we become comfortable with our position. We don’t see the effects until we are far enough away from center to feel it or see it, but by then we are seeing the effects that we had forgotten about and had caused us to go to the right path in the first place.
Some of you are feeling some discouragement and possibly think that it is impossible to live on such a path that causes us to balance between the two positions constantly. Well don’t be discouraged. The answer for this has already been stated. I’ll repeat it:
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
Papa has given us His Son, and He gives us His grace through His Son. Jesus is the Incarnate Word of God, which means He is the living expression of God’s word to us. If we use God’s word to move us into close proximity with Christ and abide in Him and He in us, then we will walk on the Narrow Path with Him and we will not fall to either side of it. His Spirit will guide us.
Doesn’t it make sense that God would want to give His children guides to the right path that Jesus speaks of? He has given them to us. It is Jesus. It is His word. And it is His Spirit who helps us understand His word. But we must become self-feeders on His word, so that we will clearly hear Him, for it is there that we get the clearest guidance. If you are not consistently seeking His wisdom from His word for how to live your life, could you be off His path and not know it? Don’t you think the invitation to walk on this narrow path is too great to ignore, and the consequences too serious to disregard? I think it is for both questions.
Let me encourage you to make it a habit to read God’s word daily and apply it to your life. Ask if there is anything going on in your life that you find guidance with from His word. He will guide you if you will seek his guidance. He promises us this. Truthfully, I don’t go a day without an examination of my life to ask if I’m on His path or not. It is just too serious a need to ignore. Will you do the same?