The Narrow Road is Also Curvy

Posted on  by Joe Rodriguez

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Matthew 7:13,14

Pictured above is the Cies Lighthouse. It was built between 1851 and 1853 on The Cies, an archipelago consisting of three islands (Monteagudo, do Faro, and San Martiños), which are located off the coast of Pontevedra in Galicia, Spain. The long zigzag road that leads to the tower is rough (unpaved) and subject to strong winds, rain, electrical storms and rapid weather changes. Only hikers and 4×4 vehicles are allowed on it. High winds blow here all year long! 

Contrary to what many believe, including some professed “Christians,” there are not many paths to God. The Bible teaches that there are only two roads in life. One leads to eternal damnation (separation from God), the other to eternal life with Him. The latter is only accessible through Jesus, the Son of God.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” –Acts 4:12 CEV

“I [Jesus] am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” –John 14:6 NIV

When Jesus referred to himself as “the way” He used the definite article to distinguish Himself as “the only way.” At one point the disciples had expressed their confusion about where He was going and how they could get there (John 14). He was obviously not referring to a physical route. So, as He had told them from the beginning, He was once again telling them that “the way” simply meant –following Him (His teachings, His example). It is biblically clear that there is no other path to salvation and no other way to becoming a child of God other than through faith in Jesus Christ.

He [Jesus] came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God.” –John 1:11-13 NIV

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Jesus is not a way, as in one of many; He is the way, as in the one and only.  Such an exclusive statement may confuse, surprise, or even offend some people, but it is true nonetheless. Those who do not know Jesus as personal Lord and Savior are aimlessly traveling through life trying to fill a void that only He can. Even pious men and women who rely on religious beliefs and traditions rather than the grace of God, are unknowingly and sadly headed in the wrong direction.

Warning Signs on the Wrong Road
"So where do you come into it all? Well, you were dead because of your offences and sins! That was the road you used to travel, keeping in step with this world’s ‘present age’; in step, too, with the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is, even now, at work among people whose whole lives consist of disobeying God. Actually, that’s how all of us used to behave, conditioned by physical desires. We used to do what our flesh and our minds were urging us to do. What was the result? We too were subject to wrath in our natural state, just like everyone else. But when it comes to mercy, God is rich! He had such great love for us that he took us at the very point where we were dead through our offences, and made us alive together with the king (yes, you are saved by sheer grace!). He raised us up with him, and made us sit with him – in the heavenly places, in King Jesus! This was so that in the ages to come he could show just how unbelievably rich his grace is, the kindness he has shown us in King Jesus. How has this all come about? You have been saved by grace, through faith! This doesn’t happen on your own initiative; it’s God’s gift. It isn’t on the basis of works, so no one is able to boast. This is the explanation: God has made us what we are. God has created us in King Jesus for the good works that he prepared, ahead of time, as the road we must travel." - Ephesians 2:1-10 NTE

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the road to death." - Proverbs 14:12 EHV 

Like the road that leads to the Cies Lighthouse, the narrow path to God has many curves and is subject to the strong winds and storms (trials and adversities) of life .

Every true follower of Jesus that has been traveling the narrow path can attest that it indeed has its challenging moments. The curves, zigzags, rough patches, and even the detours we may be forced to take at times are not indicative of us veering off track. These obstacles are inevitable. Jesus himself said we would experience them while in this world (John 16:33). The good news is that they also serve to help us grow spiritually, maintain our dependence on God, strengthen our faith, and better appreciate it when we finally get to the top! And, the best news is that Jesus himself has promised to go alongside us in this journey until the very end.

"We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader [author] of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete [perfect]. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at him. Think about him so that you won’t get discouraged and stop trying." - Hebrews 12:2-4 ERV

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.” Psalm 138:7 NIV

"You can be sure that I [Jesus] will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of time.” - Matthew 28:20 ERV

The reward for venturing the long and curvy road leading to the Cies Lighthouse is a spectacular and breathtaking view of the entire archipelago and the vast North Atlantic Ocean. But you don’t have to wait till you reach to the top to enjoy the scenery. Even though you may have to stop a few times to catch your breath (if hiking) or move closer to the inner walls to better balance yourself when wind gusts arrive, the arduous journey recompenses you with a bird observatory and views of majestic waves and the entire Vigo estuary along the way. Yes, visiting the Cies Lighthouse has been added to my Bucket List!

Our spiritual journey through this life cannot be represented by a smooth ascending line. It will inevitably appear with many zigzags (challenges) indicating our falling and rising again. But while on it, we can definitely enjoy the faithfulness, blessings, and merciful providence of the God who has promised us an indescribable final destination. And as we get closer to it, we can look forward to the day when we’ll be able to echo the words of the Apostle Paul.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but to all who crave His appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as I travel the narrow path to eternal life with you, remind me that I am not alone, especially when the curves, rough patches, and storms appear. Thank you for the promise that you will be with me every step of the way. Help me to stay focused and remain stedfast so that I can also encourage those who are traveling this road with me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!


NOTE
A very good imagery of what the Christian can expect while traveling the narrow and curvy path can be found in the 1678 Christian allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress, written by John Bunyan.

The Narrow Road is Also Curvy

What is God teaching you in your storms?

October 21, 2020 by Dr. Jack Graham

I vividly remember in 2009 when I found myself in a storm like I’d never experienced before. I had received a cancer diagnosis and was unsure of what the future would hold.   

But what I also remember is what a close friend of mine said to me in the midst of my battle… 

“Jack, I’m praying for you… that you will learn everything you need to learn in the midst of this trial in your life.”  

And God was faithful to do just that. As I prayed, “Lord, teach me what you want to teach me,” He stepped into my storm to do something I never expected. You see, while trials are a painful part of life, they serve to strengthen our faith and build our character.  

That’s what the first chapter of the book of James is all about. James writes in verse 2, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” 

The picture James is painting is that we’re walking along, everything is going well, and out of nowhere life hits us like a two-by-four with a trial, test, or storm. 

Now I realize that this is exactly where many of us find ourselves today. Toward the beginning of 2020, we lived blissfully ignorant of the trials that were about to hit us. 

And then over the past several months, we’ve been hit hard.   

We’ve seen sickness and death from a global pandemic. We’ve experienced the isolation that comes with sheltering at home. And we’ve lived through one of the most politically and racially charged climates we’ve seen in decades. 

There’s no escaping it – our world is full of pain and suffering. In Romans 8 we’re told that all creation groans in preparation for the birth of the new earth that is coming when Christ returns. 

But on this side of eternity, we will experience suffering, pain, and heartache. 

And still, James writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”  Seriously? Why would James say this – a difficult, almost impossible command to follow? 

Scripture answers that question for us in Psalm 16:11. The psalmist writes, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  

All who are in Christ share in His eternal joy, even in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances. It is a unique promise and privilege for believers and followers of Jesus.   

I’d love to share more with you about how you can authentically live out your faith in tumultuous times like these by sending you my book, Visible Faith. It’s my way to say thanks for your gift to help take the Gospel to the world. 

And it gets better, thanks to a $200,000 Matching Grant, your gift today will be DOUBLED to help share the hope of Jesus with more people! 

Thank you for your generosity. I pray Visible Faith encourages and equips you to be a light for Christ – so our darkening world can see the faith that truly saves!

https://resources.jackgraham.org/resource-library/articles/what-is-god-teaching-you-in-your-storms/