Roadside Distractions

13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.  Matthew 7:13-14..."His is a narrow way that leads to a wide life." Unknown

 

I'm old enough to remember traveling before the nation's interstate highway system was as advanced as it now is. Most of our family trips were made on highways that led through lots of small towns and places. Most everyone traveled in that way. One of the things we all experienced were what were termed "Roadside attractions." These were usually flamboyant signs or displays that were meant to get the traveler's attention, to get him to pull of the road and see what it offered. Most often, the results were underwhelming, but the owner still reaped some profit as most passerbys would either pay to see the attraction or purchase some small token remembrance of the place. Then it was back on the road to continue the journey. I'm thinking you might be seeing the spiritual parallel here. Except, in the spiritual journey, things that disguise themselves as attractions are at best, distractions, and at worst, deadly ones.

I think most of us fail to allow His Spirit to reveal the depths of the meaning of Matthew 7:13-14. We just take it to mean Jesus is only talking about those who walk the road of His Life into the rewards of that Life, and those who don't, and who then walk to their spiritual destruction. It has that meaning, but it carries so much more than that. First off, we tend to think of the narrow road as one filled with lots of rules and regulations. A life where the Father is always watching for a slip-up, and ready to pounce on us when we do. It's a narrow road that seems easy to fall of. While the wide road offered by the devil and the world does invite one to a far ranging variety of sins, in reality, the life it offers is very narrow. In fact, it isn't life at all. The narrow road is only narrow in the sense that there is room only for Christ...and us...upon it. Yet to enter into it is not to begin a life of tightrope walking, but to embark upon a life that offers an ever widening variety of joy, peace, abundance, healing, and victory. Our focus, a narrow one fixed solely on Him, leads to a Life whose only limit is our humanity here, and one day, even that will be removed. Satan, our enemy knows this, even if we don't, and so he makes sure that he puts up plenty of signs pointing to his "Roadside attractions," which are really distractions, and many of them can and do lead to death and destruction.

These "attractions" entice our flesh in many ways. There are the obvious ones that appeal to our various lustful desires for wealth, power, influence, success, and sexual pleasure. These are obvious, and to visit them will surely bring death and destruction. There are also the everyday distractions like stress, anxiety, and seeking control of our situations, but I think it's the less obvious ones that are the real danger. The distractions that seem good in themselves, but end up drawing our hearts away from Him. Busyness. Working for Him rather than abiding and living in Him. Finding our identity in what we're doing for Him, rather than who we are in Him. Commitment to a ministry, a fellowship, a person, rather than a union with Him. All of these can entice and distract us from Him and our journey with and into His deeper life. And all of them, no matter how "good" they may seem, will bring a certain level of destruction to us when we allow them to distract us from the life highway He seeks for us to travel upon with Him.

So what are your roadside distractions? You may have dealt with the obvious ones, but what of the much less obvious? What is succeeding in getting your eyes off of the real purpose of your journey.....abundant life in Him? Today, what will draw your heart from Him....and all the fullness He has for you on the journey? Or, will you continue to linger there, suffering destruction to some, even all areas of your life?

Blessings,

Pastor O

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