One day, traveling in unfamiliar territory, my husband and I set our GPS device (we call her Mandy), trusting that we would arrive at our intended destination. When each turn led us onto a narrower road, and the surface became dirt, and we could never have met another car without one of us backing up and pulling over, we began to wonder where we were headed. By this time we had no choice but to follow Mandy’s instructions. We finally arrived at the highway that took us to our destination.
We try to walk together every day, for our health and for time together. Sometimes bad weather keeps us indoors, or our schedule for the day doesn’t allow time to walk, but we do our best. We usually follow a certain route for our walk because we know the distance and how long it will take. Sometimes we choose a different path to walk. We walk to a shop on Main Street, or we walk to and around the park.
Are you familiar with Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”? The last three lines are:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Every day you and I are faced with choices: to eat cereal or eggs for breakfast; to wear dress or casual clothes; to go to college or get a job; to marry or remain single. Some choices have greater impact than others. All the choices we make influence us in some way.
“The Road Not Taken” reminds me of the Scripture passage Matthew 7: 13,14. In these verses, Jesus describes two gates and two ways. The wide one, followed by many, leads to destruction, and the narrow one, less traveled, leads to life.
I believe the choice with the greatest impact on any person’s life is the choice to receive or reject Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. When we say yes to Jesus, we enter the narrow gate to salvation from sin’s punishment and follow God’s way of eternal life and obedience to Him. (Romans 6:23) We are like a branch attached to a vine. Jesus connects to God the Father, the Creator and Sustainer of life.
Each person who chooses to follow Christ has God’s Holy Spirit living within (John 15:5-15; Romans 8:14-16; 1 John 4:13). In Galatians chapter five, Paul tells Christ’s followers to “walk in the Spirit.” We walk in the Spirit when we let ourselves be guided by God’s Holy Spirit. We read and obey God’s Word. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance and teaching, we glorify God.
Two walks, two ways to conduct one’s life. Without Christ, a person follows his or her own “want-to” instead of God’s way. The works of the flesh, the outcome of our natural desires, are listed in Galatians 5:19-21. Following natural desires leads to choices that are destructive and morally barren, i.e. sexual immorality, selfishness, murder, envy, drunkenness, etc. As followers of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit to help overcome evil desire. Instead, the fruit of the Spirit (vv. 22,23) are produced: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Although I have chosen God’s way by receiving Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, I’m not perfect. I’m influenced by sin around me and my natural “want-to’s.” At times I become angry, impatient, unkind, or selfish. God wants me to own up to my sin. When I confess, I’m forgiven and made right with God because I belong to Jesus Christ. (1John 1:9) If I’ve offended another person, I’m responsible to apologize and ask forgiveness.
I’m still growing and learning. I need the Holy Spirit to help me produce fruit to glorify God and show I belong to Christ.