Stepping off the path
February 5, 2020
Stickers, like goatheads and sandburs, can get on shoes and clothing and be brought inside buildings, such as homes, where they can cause problems for us or others. They can even be transferred to couch cushions where they affect our backsides – Ouch! (Been there!)
Our church goes to a place each month where, if you step off the sidewalk, you’ll get sandburs on your shoes. Recently, after entering that building, one of our members was observed to have something on his shoe that turned out to be a cluster of sandburs. He was teased for having stepped off the path and bringing bad things into his life and the lives of others.
The Christian life is a path – the path of righteousness that leads to eternal life (Proverbs 15:24). It’s described as a narrow road that’s entered through a strait (small, narrow) gate (Matthew 7:13-14). Although the gate to the Christian life is narrow, being Jesus himself, it and the path of righteousness still are wide enough for all people, past, present, and future to pass through (John 14:6; 10:7-11; 3:16; 1 John 2:2).
Jesus leads all those who truly desire to follow him through the gate and along the paths of righteousness (Proverbs 3:6; Psalm 16:11; Romans 3:21-22; 1 Peter 2:21-23; Hebrews 5:7-9; Matthew 3:13-17). Jesus said his baptism had to be done to fulfill all righteousness. That’s how we begin on that path of righteousness – through obedience to faith in baptism to put away our sin by uniting ourselves with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection, thereby receiving the righteousness that comes from God by faith in Christ Jesus; the righteousness being God’s indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:17-25; Acts 6:7; 22:16; Romans 6:3-23; 14:17; 8:9; Acts 2:38-39).
The Christian life is also similar to the concept of stepping off the sidewalk and getting stickers on our shoes, bringing consequences upon ourselves and/or harm to others. When we step off the path of righteousness and sin, there’re consequences for us and possibly collateral damage to others. If we tread along the edge of Christianity in such a way as to cause someone else to fall off the path by violating their conscience in doing something they consider wrong or causing someone to not enter the path of righteousness, we’ve caused a greater and possibly eternal harm to ourselves and them (Romans 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Matthew 18:6-7).
On the other hand, if we want to enter and stay on that narrow path of righteousness, God will light the way and make it smooth and level, even broad, so we don’t slip or stumble (Acts 2:28; Psalm 119:105; 18:36; Jeremiah 31:9; Isaiah 26:7).
If you want to take the narrow road to heaven, follow Jesus’ steps to fulfill all righteousness, just like the 1st-century Christians did. Then ask God to show you the path of righteousness and confidently stay in the middle of the path so you don’t chance stepping off (Jeremiah 6:16; James 1:5-8; Proverbs 4:20-27).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected]