|Volume 24 Number 2 February 2022
When we start out on an unfamiliar road trip, we must have a map or some kind of directions to know where we are heading. Otherwise, we could get lost or end up in unfamiliar territory where roads are closed or other issues with which to deal. Most of us don’t want to end up in a lost condition when we can get some direction or instruction to keep us from getting lost. Years ago, when Alice’s paternal grandmother passed away in Mississippi, we made our way there for the funeral. Usually, it’s hard for me to get lost. However, I met my match on that trip as I was unfamiliar with the roads we were traveling in the dark, and we ran into heavy road construction. We wandered aimlessly until we could get direction from others on how to get to our destination. We needed guidance to go the right way.
Just so, we need guidance on how to go the right way to reach the goal of Heaven. We can’t live on earth and take part in its sinful activities and expect to receive God’s blessings. Therefore, we must have a road map to teach us the right way. God didn’t leave man guessing what he must do; He provided the Bible, which is the Christian’s road map to Heaven.
First, we must understand that to go in the right direction, we must admit that we are going in the wrong direction. There is Someone Who has all the answers when we need a solution to correct us from heading the wrong way; God knows the answers! The prophet Isaiah admitted his human weakness and God’s greatness as he said, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV). In other words, God is far above man in His ways and thoughts; after all, He created man. He is a great God!
Moses’ road map for the Israelites to keep them in the right way was “…You shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him” (Deuteronomy 8:6). With that exhortation to faithfulness, Moses also told them to “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes…” (Deuteronomy 8:11). Not only were they given instruction to go the right way, but the Israelites were warned of severe consequences if they went the wrong way. When we forsake God and go our own way, we will reap the consequences of our actions.
We live in a society of people where it is common to hear someone say, “I’ll do it my way.” There was even a popular song years ago which lauded, “I did it my way.” We are instructed in Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.” In matters of religion, we don’t have the option of doing things our way. God declared that “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). In all matters of religion, it is God’s way, or one must suffer the consequences.
Peter described the consequences for those who have the right road map to get to Heaven and begin following it but then get off on side roads. He said:
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’ (2 Peter 2:20-22)
Please learn and keep God’s ways.
Walking in the Light
A rich tapestry of life-enhancing guides appear throughout Holy Scripture. Far too often, we read the Bible as if it’s like a modern novel, but this is a great disservice to the Word of God. One such example of a guide is found in the apostle John’s first letter.
John mentioned, over thirty times, that we are to know that God is the light in which we seek to dwell. In 1 John 1:5, he wrote, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (NKJV). In fact, he said, “And the light shines in darkness” (John 1:5).
We’re taught in 1 John 2:29 that our God is a righteous God. “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” John encouraged his readers to live right, according to God’s will. He also stated that God is love! “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:8, 16).
Our mighty and compassionate Creator is also life! “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12). In his second letter, John declared God to be truth, and in the third epistle, he proclaimed that God is good.
So, if we know these things about God, how should we conduct our lives in accordance with God’s will? The following seven points show us the way to a good and faithful Christian life.
First, in 1 John 1:6, we are told to walk in the light. God’s light reveals sin in our lives. His Word convicts us, and we must cast all uncleanness from our lives (Hebrews 4:12).
Secondly, we must never think we are better than others. According to 1 John 1:10, Christians are flawed human beings and must live in the full knowledge that we depend upon Christ’s finished work at Calvary for salvation. It is essential to our walk that we maintain a cleansed condition in God’s sight. We’re told in John 1:8-9, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Thirdly, obedience to the will of God is essential to our good spiritual health. How can we claim to love Him if we refuse to obey His commands (Luke 6:46)? First John 2:4 declares, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Let us never be found in disobedience to any part of God’s commands.
Fourth, John tells us to have a Christ-like mind. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). Jesus Himself said, “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19). Let us ever search our hearts and Scripture in doing just that!
Fifth, we are to practice a loving, practical care for others. “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now” (1 John 2:9). We must abandon grudges and all pettiness. In addition, we must pray for those who harm us and bless them with God’s attention!
Sixth, we must avoid the things found in 1 John 2:16. “For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.” These three are at the root of all sinful activity.
Finally, in 1 John 2:22, faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are advised to beware of straying from the paths of righteousness. “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.” We deny Him when we turn our backs upon Him; we deny Jesus when we disobey His commands. If we loved Him, we would never consider such unloving betrayal!
We must hold true to the narrow way of Christian living. In 1 John 2:28-29, the apostle summed up his guide perfectly. “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.” Righteousness (right living in God’s sight) is achieved through obedience to God’s will.
Let us seek the paths of light and walk with our Maker till one day we will be with Him forevermore. We pass into the light from darkness through baptism into Christ (Acts 2:38; 17:30; Mark 16:16; Galatians 3:27). Many passages declare the way. Why not enter that shining path of truth and knowledge, and, in so doing, you can know you are walking in the light with Christ?