Is there more than one path to God, and if so how can I find those that are easy to walk? This could be one question too many seek to find in these days of fast food, instant gratification, and quick answers.
‘Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” The woman answered the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die’” (Gen. 3: 1-3)
The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it, and gave it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. (Gen. 3: 6-7)
Already the road that they were to follow suddenly became wide and there were choices too easy to ignore. Sound familiar as we too can be tempted to go after that one attraction that is not ours to have. Sure, we are industrious and can be driven out of curiosity and goal-minded reaching for the stars all the treasures that were created for man to obtain. Here is where discernment is necessary to know which choice will be for our best interest and that which may eventually be part of our downfall.
God has certainly given man the ability to grow beyond a puppet-led existence and reach the unattainable with a brain to learn what is good for us and that which may become a deterrent to sound growth. However, there is one more element we find in the mix of choices, one that may be disguised as a God-given gift. And, like the incident in the Garden of Eden, the Lord sets boundaries for us to follow; limitations parents teach their children for their own good. He has also placed before each of us warning signs like stop, think, and observe the consequences that may very well be the prize of perdition if we do not adhere to His Commands.
From the Sermon on the Mount, and following prescriptions, Jesus taught about the narrow gate and how very few find that path desirable. Most, unfortunately, choose the wider and expansive road that is easy, comfortable, and satisfies an insatiable appetite for pleasure. This pleasure has become the one result of what scientists call the neurotransmitter “Dopamine” that sees all addictions as the same. Drugs, sex, money, and/or food as being satisfied and does not distinguish one from another.
One major fault we find in this is God’s command to follow Him, unreservedly, which becomes clouded with the needs man believes is his primary goal; personal satisfaction.
As in another article I wrote “Has God taken Second Place” when we push the Trinity of God aside to make way for any and all pleasures we have stepped aside from the narrow road and chosen the path that does not even have guard rails to keep us from falling off. This path to perdition has very few, if any, safety nets that will keep us safe. The only way to avoid falling off is to find God who has never left our side. If no other way to stay the road is available, this season of Lent should open to us that very small path which allows as many of us who want it to join the crowds following Jesus Christ to the perfect goal: Suffering, Cross, Resurrection!
Ralph B. Hathaway, Lent 2019