One beautiful fall afternoon our family went to a corn maze. As we wandered through the maze making choices between the different paths, we noticed that some of the paths were well worn with little grass on the path while others had nearly all grass. We began to refer to the grassy trails as the path less traveled. Of course, we were alluding to the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost of which the last stanza says ,
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Once when we were deciding which path to take, my daughter chose a rather grassy path. I commented that taking a more worn path could be the right way to go rather than the grassy path she was choosing. She said that sometimes the road less traveled is the best way to go. After she said that I began to think about that in reference to our personal walk with God. It is so true that sometimes the road less traveled is the best way to go. How many times do we feel so alone because of our stand for Christ? Or even in our church just because we have different convictions than those around us? Sometimes we may choose a “dirt path” in life just because we are so lonely and want to have friends around us no matter the consequences. Sometimes the consequences can be a compromise in our reputation. Other times the consequences can be a hit to our walk with God. Our choice may seem inconsequential at the time, but in reality people are watching us every day to see how consistent our walk with God will be. Other Christians or even unbelieving friends may be watching us to see how we live, if we will be consistent in our walk with Christ, whether we will choose the dirt path or the road less traveled.
Many Bible verses talk about the paths we choose. Here are some of them:
- Psalm 16:11 “You [God] make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” When we follow the path of life we will be in God’s presence and have fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore!
- Psalm 17:5 “My steps have held fast to your [God’s] paths; my feet have not slipped.” When we follow God’s paths it will help keep our feet from slipping (keep us from sin).
- Psalm 23:3 “He [God] restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” We follow God’s paths of righteousness so we don’t hurt God’s reputation in the eyes of those watching us.
- Psalm 25:4 “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.” God will help us to know His path if we are in a close walk with Him. He will help us know the right choices to make.
- Psalm 25:10 “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” If we keep to God’s paths and keep his covenant and testimonies, we will enjoy steadfast love and faithfulness.
- Psalm 119:105 “Your [God’s] word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s Word will help us to know the right choices to make by shining a light to the way we should go.
- Proverbs 1:15 “my [King Solomon’s] son, do not walk in the way with them [sinners]; hold back your foot from their paths” We shouldn’t even start down the road with sinners…entertaining that first sin.
- Proverbs 3:17 “Her [wisdom’s] ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Following the path of wisdom will lead to pleasantness and peace.
- Proverbs 4:14 “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.” This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it all starts with just one choice…that first sin…as Solomon referred to in Proverbs 1:15 (see above).
- Hebrews 12:12-13 “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.” This passage is referring to a runner and the challenges of running a race. Life is our race, and we cannot let the trying circumstances of life to get the best of us.
I think of us taking a stand that is contrary to our friends and family around us. Sometimes we do have to take a stand, and we feel like we are all alone in that stand we must take. This makes me think of Meg’s favorite Bible story…the story of Esther. Certainly she had to take a stand against all those around her in the palace where she found herself queen after being taken from her family and friends just because she was a beautiful young woman. Now that’s the ultimate beauty pageant, isn’t it? All the beautiful young women were taken to vie for the role of queen. But they didn’t have a choice. They were taken because the king needed a new queen. So we find Esther making the choice to stand for her people the Jews. She has been encouraged to approach the king and ask for deliverance for the Jews. And Mordecai sends her this message found in Esther 4:14 “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Did God put her in the position of queen just for this one reason – to act as a deliverer for the Jewish people? And Esther responds to this challenge by saying (in verse 16) “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish I perish.” She was saying that she was going to break the law – approaching the king without being summoned was against the law and it was punishable by death. However, if she approached him and he held out the golden scepter to her then she would be spared. But she didn’t know how the king would respond, and she chose to rise to the challenge and risk death! Surely the choices we make on whether to follow God won’t usually have such dire consequences. But often we feel like we are standing so alone, don’t we? Sometimes we risk being bullied or abandoned by our friends because of a stand we must take. Meg had a lot of that happen in high school. And she felt so alone so many times. She never risked death for her choices. But she was a testimony to those around her and felt so lonely at times.
Take a stand for Christ in your home, church, school and community! Determine to take the road less traveled. You may have been put just in the place where you live for such a time as this!!