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Friday, September 1, 2017

About-Face!

13 “You can enter true life only through the narrow gate. The gate to hell is very wide, and there is plenty of room on the road that leads there. Many people go that way. 14 But the gate that opens the way to true life is narrow. And the road that leads there is hard to follow. Only a few people find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 ERV)

It was the late C.S. Lewis who reminded us, "The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." The road doesn't need signposts because it is the easiest to follow! If you have ever had a roof leak, you know just how doggone difficult it can be to actually determine where that water is getting in. Why? The water takes the course of the least resistance and travels along until it finds a path of escape, often quite far removed from the initial point of entry. The road to hell is much like that - we realize our need for escape at a point, but it is often quite far removed from our point of entry!

We don't always realize we are on a course headed toward that "easy path", though. It oftentimes takes a little bit of eye-opening to help us realize where it is we have been heading. As Lewis implies, there are no signposts, no great big milestones along the way - it is just a simple "lazy road" to what appears to be some innocuous destination. I think we choose it most easily because there don't appear to be any huge hurdles in our way! The road to heaven is a little less innocuous though. It is riddled with potholes, hard climbs, and oftentimes narrower than desired paths. Those paths might even take us right out onto the edge of some very scary places, but when we look beyond the edge, we can see great beauty!

Lewis also reminds us, "We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive." What is the progress you are making in your life today? It might not seem like much, but each step you and I continue to take toward our own self-interests and self-directed desires might just take us on a course we don't want to travel. The one who is so focused on what he or she can manipulate out of this life is not going to realize progress, but rather a downward spiral. There is nothing wrong in admitting we are in a place where an about-turn is necessary. In fact, in the military we practiced this movement over and over again - because an about-turn is what brings us face-to-face with a new direction and a different focus in life. Just sayin!