Do you ever ask yourself “how did my life turn out this way”?
When we graduate from high school or college we’re just fresh faced kids ready to conquer the world. We decide on the path we want our lives to take and start down it thinking only good things will come our way. Then, somewhere along that path, life takes an unexpected turn. The next thing we know, we’ve ended up in no man’s land and we’re left wondering what the heck happened. All of those plans we made for ourselves seem so far away and that fresh faced kid is just a distant memory. We’ve veered off the path.
David had one of these “how did my life turn out this way?” moments too.
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
When this psalm was written, David found himself in a precarious situation. His life had taken an unexpected turn for the worst. The young kid who started out as a meek shepherd and then became a celebrated hero when he defeated Goliath was on the run. David was hiding out in the wilderness because King Saul and his army were looking to kill him. They had caught up with David and had encircled around him. Death seemed imminent.
Many of David’s psalms talk about the feeling of enemies surrounding him and he must have been scared knowing that they were surrounding him. But instead of sitting around being scared and wondering what happened, David trusted God to show him the path of life. He had experienced both the highs and lows of living a life for God. And he believed that God would take care of him at this critical time. Even at his lowest David could still praise God and experience the joy of being in His presence because he understood that joy, real joy comes from knowing God.
But David’s psalm is more than just a lament about his own circumstances, he was pointing the way for us to the coming Messiah, the true path of life.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
It doesn’t matter what our previous plans were, or the disappointment we felt when they didn’t work out. That path we chose for ourselves when we were young was about this life and what we would become in it. But God is more concerned with what will become of us in the next life. So He gave us a path of life. Jesus is that path, a path to eternal life. And this verse is our roadmap to Him.
You may have noticed that Jesus only gave us two choices on the path. We’ve reached that critical point in the journey where the road forks off and only goes in two directions. We must turn one way or the other to continue on and it’s an important decision worthy of serious consideration. We can either, turn left and enter through the wide and easy path. This is the worldly path that offers pleasure in this life but ultimately leads to hell and eternal destruction. Or, we can turn right and enter through the narrow and difficult path that leads to eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
Jesus said that most people will choose the wide and easy path. These people are just going through life and don’t give this decision much thought. Or they think that the choice can be put off for another time. But tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us and death may come when you least expect it. By then the choice has already been made and it’s too late.
That’s why Jesus urges us to choose the narrow gate. He loves every one of us and He died to save us. And He wants each one of us to be the few who find the narrow gate. Yes, the narrow gate is a harder, more difficult path to take and Jesus said that we will be persecuted for our faith. But our reward is in knowing our Savior and spending eternity with Him.
Most people don’t want to hear this hard truth. Because when they do, they are forced to choose which path they will take. And just to be clear, not choosing is a choice in itself, and not a pleasant one.
The decision to follow Jesus is life changing. And sometimes change is hard. So, if this life changing decision is hard to make, Jesus put it another way…
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
This is a bold and clear statement. Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only eternal life. If we want to see the Father and end up in heaven when we die, then Jesus is the one and only way to get there. And we don’t do ourselves or anyone else any favors by saying otherwise. This is our God given promise, if we believe in Jesus, that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, then we will have eternal life with Him.
For most of us, we made the choice a long time ago to follow Jesus and enter through the narrow gate. But sometimes it’s good to look back on where we’ve been and how we got here. The path behind us, reminds us of everything Jesus has done for us and how far we’ve come. And the path stretched out in front of us leading the way to the Savior gives us something to look forward to.
Like David, we can experience the joy of being in God’s presence. And we can see the joy waiting for us up ahead when we’ve reached the end. This is the joy we can only find in knowing Jesus. It is a joy that fills us completely and gives us confidence in our faith. The path of life may be long and winding but with Jesus we will get there.
Is there an event in your life that has brought you to where you are right now? Are you asking yourself “How did my life turn out this way”? If you’ve veered off the path a little bit, it’s okay. The roadmap hasn’t changed and you can still get back on the path. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms. Today, I pray that you will remember all of the reasons you gave your life to Christ and be strengthened by that decision. And I pray that you will stay firmly on the path of life and see the joy waiting for you up ahead.
If you have not made the decision to take the narrow path, then I pray that you will understand the love Jesus has for you and choose to follow Him. To find out more about making this crucial decision please read “Accepting Jesus” by clicking on the tab at the top of the page.