The Track

My morning run today was a bit more challenging this usual. Recent snow covered the paved track at the local college where I like to run, making it impossible to tell where it was.

As I stood staring at the whiteness, I realized I had a number of choices: I could choose to make my own path, I could choose to follow the tracks of others or of the snow mobile that had gone through, or I could search for the real path.

The path of the snow mobile seemed the most solid, so I started there. It didn't take me long to realize however, that this path wasn't the right one. Besides going through the deepest snow, it led towards the middle of the open track area, in front of the baseball diamond, nowhere near the paved path.

I then decided to follow in the tracks of others, but again, I quickly realized that they hadn't necessarily followed the path, either. Instead of going around the field, their tracks led off towards the college campus.

Making my own path was also not a good option. My tendency was to take short cuts, and where the ground underneath was a bit lower, I sank into knee-deep snow.

Finally I decided to search for the true path. I knew that the track ran just to the outside of the 5-6 lights around the course. This was a good place to start! Next I watched for patches of pavement where the snow had melted, and I soon discovered that there were actually quite a few of these. Finally, I watched for signs of grass coming up through the snow, and if I could identify this on both sides but not under my feet, I had a pretty good idea I was on the track, even when there was snow.

I soon found that parts of the track were easier to identify than others. The backside, for example, was easy. It was nearly bare. The front, on the other hand, was covered in about six inches of snow. I definitely had to pay more attention there.

This reminds me of the Christian's walk through the world. We are told to stay on the path: "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." (Matt 7:13-14 NIV).

This could mean lots of things, but one of the very important applications is to have good, God-given convictions, and to stick to them.

But often, just like my track this morning, the path is hard to find because there is too much "snow"-our own desire-covering it. We want to "fit in", to "be like the crowd". We wish for an "easier path", one that runs into fewer conflicts! These desires can completely obscure our way!

So what do you do?

Just like I had several choices this morning, you too, have several choices.

1. Make your own path-look at what seems logical and socially acceptable to base your convictions upon. This alleviates the problem of not being like the crowd. But the world's wisest man warns against this: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Prov 14:12 NIV)

2. Follow the crowd. If everyone else is doing it, it can't be that bad! But what happens if the crowd's way isn't Jesus' way? If you aren't careful you will soon find yourself on the wrong way! Jesus warns against this option: "For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." (Matt. 7:13)

3. Take the "path of the snow mobile"-the "easy road"-the path of least resistance. Paul warns adamantly against this: " All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street." (Phil 3:18-19 The Message)

And none of these options worked for me this morning. There is one other choice, the one that worked for me today: Search for the true Path, the "small and narrow road" that leads to life: "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matt 7:14 NIV).

So how do you find this "small and narrow road"? The same way I found the track this morning:

1. Watch for the lights: Just as my track had a few lights around it, we have been given a light, God's Word. The Bible gives you all the guidance you need, and God's Spirit helps you apply the principles of His Word to your individual situations.

2. Clear away the snow: Allow Jesus to work in your heart to change your desires into Godly one, to learn to hate the things of the world.

3. Watch for the grass: Ask God to show you what compromise looks like and watch for it. Ask Him to show you the moment you step off the path!

Naturally, this is easier to do sometimes than others. But in all times, we can ask God to help us, for "I can do all things in him that strengthens me" (Phil 4:13 NKJV)

Lord, help us to not see the world in shades of grey, but in black and white! Help us to hate even the tiniest tinge of compromise so that like David, we will to be able to say: "I try to walk a straight and narrow path of doing what is right " (Ps 26:11 TLB)

Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, , with Answers2Prayer Ministries,

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