Mark Alan Williams
Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. –Unknown
Difficult roads are not as appealing as the possibility that they will lead to beautiful destinations. If only we could reach the beautiful destinations without the difficult roads. But, spiritually speaking, choosing the road to follow has important, eternal consequences for every human being.
This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.
The most difficult thing for me since becoming a Christian has been to watch some people wander away from the Christian faith. The challenge has been to continue to follow Christ, in spite of other people’s decisions. Although there have been other family members who have accepted Christ and are now following Him; my heart breaks for those who no longer do.
In addition, it has been difficult to share the Gospel with people close to me, only to have them resist or reject Christ. Yet, though none go with me, by His grace, I will still follow Him.
I am reminded of the song:
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
“I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; I have decided to follow Jesus; No turning back, no turning back.”
“Though none go with me, still I will follow; Though none go with me, still I will follow; Though none go with me, still I will follow; No turning back, no turning back.”
Most people naturally hope to avoid difficult roads. We want the beautiful destinations without the difficult roads. It is human nature to avoid pain and suffering. Challenges, trials, problems and difficult roads are undesirable. We’ll just take the beautiful destinations, please.
But, what does the Bible have to say about the road on which we travel? God has given us all free will, which means we can either choose to travel on the narrow road or the broad highway. But we need to choose now while we are still alive, because after we die, it will be too late.
Deciding which road to travel on is a very important decision, because the choice leads to one of two possible destinations; either heaven or hell.
You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)
According to the Bible there is only one road that leads to a beautiful destination and that is the narrow road which leads to heaven. That means it is exclusive and only available through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, and by grace alone. In other words, salvation is a gift that we can’t earn (Ephesians 2:8-9).
There are not multiple roads that lead to heaven, but only one way and that is through Christ. John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (ESV)
Salvation is open to all who will receive it, but the road to heaven is difficult, though it leads to a beautiful destination.
Yes, Jesus paid the price for our sins through His death on the cross and salvation is a free gift but there is a cost to discipleship or following Jesus, and we are told to count the cost (Luke 14:25-34).
You may wonder how to count the cost, when you don’t know what difficult times are ahead. That may be true, we don’t know, but Jesus is looking for disciples who will commit to follow Him,despite the uncertainties. He is looking for people who are willing to say, “Lord, whatever the cost, I will follow You.”
The road to heaven is difficult in that we will encounter trials that will cost us something to continue to follow Christ. We may be the only person in our family who is following the Lord, or we may have to give up a favorite sin, relationship or even our life in order to continue to follow the Lord.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 NLT)
But, Christians can know that whatever we lose in this life or have to give up, it will be well worth the sacrifice that we make.
Mark 10:29-30 says, “‘Yes,’ Jesus replied, ‘and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.’”
Which road are you on?
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
Five Questions for Those Who Think Many Roads Lead to Heaven
Podcast: Is salvation found in various faith traditions? (religious Pluralism)
Quote card: Someday when in the presence of our Savior we will thank Him,
Quote card: Spurgeon on Being a Missionary
Quote card: Afflictions add to the saint’s glory…
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