We’ve been in ministry for a long time now, and our most important lessons have been learned by living our faith journey with biblical truth. Don’t let anyone convince you that the faithful life is always easy and filled with joy. It never has been, and it never will be. It is rewarding, blessed, fulfilling, and often an uphill effort.
Walking God’s ancient road to heaven isn’t the easiest way to live our lives, but it is the road that takes us where we want to go.
The “road to hell is paved”
The familiar words say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I find it interesting that we are supposed to think the road to hell is paved. The familiar saying isn’t a biblical concept, but the fact the road is paved actually is.
Proverbs 14:12 is ancient wisdom. The proverb says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Scripture spoke of the “ancient road” as the more difficult path to follow, but it was also the path that led people to heaven. The easy path is the road that seems right but isn’t. Taking the easy way, or the popular way, is often taking the wrong road. The prophets were called to preach the truth people needed to know, even when it wasn’t what they wanted to hear.
It would seem like every generation of humanity has wanted this life to be easier than it turns out to be. I’ve always squirmed a bit at Jesus’ words when he said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14).
Jesus’ words to his disciples were really clear and clearly sobering. Living a holy life in this unholy world will not be an easy or widely popular road. Jesus said the way is hard and few find it.
If the road to hell is paved, it is a much easier road to walk. It “seems right to man” and it has a lot more people to walk alongside. The road to heaven is often a difficult journey, a narrow road that requires constant direction to navigate. The only way to walk that path is to be willing and determined to do whatever it takes to reach the end.
Ancient paths require ancient truth
The prophet Jeremiah is sometimes called “the weeping prophet.” He preached to the people of Judah when Josiah was king of Judah. Jeremiah’s dad had been a priest so he grew up knowing the ancient truths about God and the nation of Israel. As the nation turned more and more to the worship of Baal, God made his truth very clear.
God told Jeremiah to tell his people what to expect if they wanted to make the journey to his eternal Presence and blessing. Jeremiah 6:16 says, “Thus says the Lᴏʀᴅ: ‘Stand by the roads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
Sometimes the journey to heaven is filled with paths that can appear too difficult to walk and may seem unfairly narrow. Jeremiah and King David questioned God, saying, “Why do the evil prosper?” It is tempting to live this life on the roads that are most popular and easier to enjoy. We have to consider the destination more important than the journey.
God told Jeremiah to ask for the ancient paths. Why?
The answer to that question might be the most important part of this blog post and a change point in your spiritual journey.
Our culture is full of “fresh ideas” and “new thinking.” Many of our churches are leaning that way as well. All is good if the fresh ideas and new thinking are still based on ancient truth. Scripture teaches us that Jesus was with God in the beginning (John 1:1) and that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
If someone believes today what Christians have never believed before, their theology is not going to carry them down the ancient paths that lead to heaven. On the other hand, there is a new movement beginning among some Christians in college today who are looking for ancient, proven truth. They are a generation that recognizes the abundance of confusion and discord in popular thinking and have learned to appreciate what has always been considered true.
Ancient paths require ancient, eternal truth. The ancient paths are “the good way,” and it is on those paths we can find “rest” for our “souls.”
The question for each individual to consider is: Will I walk in it?
Have we forgotten the ancient truth?
Jeremiah 18:15 reveals God’s heart for his people: “But my people have forgotten me; they make offerings to false gods; they made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient roads, and to walk into side roads, not the highway.”
There is a higher way to live our lives and it depends on the ancient, eternal truth of God’s word. God’s definition of truth doesn’t change, but people’s interpretations of his truth have always drifted, then returned, only to drift again—throughout centuries of biblical history.
Every generation in Christian history gets some things right and other things wrong. We are a fallen people who need their Lord to direct their daily walk. Jesus offers to guide us along the ancient path but the question remains, “Will we choose to walk it?”
Tough journeys require a great God
None of us wish for the difficult parts of this road, but it is the road that takes us to the place we need to be. We learn to trust doctors to save our lives. Some of you have experienced the pain of difficult treatments that while painful at the time, have led to your healing.
Shouldn’t we all consider that crucial thinking for our spiritual lives as well?
As Christians, each of us has our own journey and that will be a difficult road at times. We should want to walk the ancient paths of God’s eternal truth because that road leads us to heaven. It isn’t the easier, paved road of popular thinking; it is the proven path of ancient truth. It’s the road to “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
I hope all of us will choose to say, “Yes, Lord. I am willing.”
That narrow gate is an uphill effort at times but worth every step that draws us closer to our eternity with God.