Walking the Narrow Road
The concept of the Narrow Road appears virtually throughout all scriptures. The idea that there is only one way to God is not new. Jesus makes it a point to stress such a concept quite regularly throughout His sermons and teachings emphasizing to the believer there is one road to take and it is narrow. It is narrow not because God purposely makes it that way. It is narrow because we make it so difficult to get to God. And that’s why the image is used. The popular choice, the popular opinion is not God, it’s sin. That’s broad, that’s a wide scope. But when it comes to God it is unpopular, minimal, narrow. And so, every single person who decides to commit their lives to this narrow walk of life has a grand task ahead of them. It can be pretty hard to stay on such a path and very easy to stray onto the broader one. How do we do it? How do we walk the narrow road? The Apostle Paul outlines a very simple and effective way the disciple of Christ can walk the narrow road. This outline is found in Ephesians 5:15-17: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
1. Walk Wisely
A Christian must be harmless as a dove yet wise as a serpent. The concept is stressed by Jesus Himself in Matthew’s Gospel as an admonishment to the apostles (Matt. 10:16). They would be sent out into an evil world (wolves) and Jesus knew they would often be treated with hate and contempt (sheep). Such situations require wisdom more than anything else. The ability to navigate through such situations should not be undermined nor underestimated. The need for wisdom for the Christian might be compared to the child who needs to understand the importance of looking both ways before crossing the road. The parent gives the child instruction and thus ours comes from God (Jam. 1:5). The wisdom that we need to walk the narrow road is the wisdom from above (Jam. 3:17). It comes from God and it’s the wisdom Solomon prayed for (1 Kings. 3:5, 9, 14). With this wisdom we can make it over to the other side.
2. Do not waste the time you have left
If I had a dime for every minute I wasted doing something fruitless and foolish, I’d be well on my way to the Forbes list of millionaires. Maybe you’ve felt that way too. Our lives on this earth is far too short for us to be throwing away the time we do have left (Jam. 4:14). We ought to take advantage of all the opportunities we have to do good, spread love, preach the gospel and save souls since we may not have many (Matt. 22:37-40; 2 Tim. 4:2; Jude 1:22-23). The days we live in are evil and many are sucked in to the devil’s warped offers. Any difference we can make, no matter how little, will go a long way.
3. Understand the will of the Lord
Paul ends on the same note he began with in v. 15. In these three short but powerful verses, an inclusio admonishes the believer not to deny wisdom. Doing such things would render us foolish (Prov. 1:7). To be wise is to understand God’s will (Prov. 2:6). It’s not difficult to know what God wants since He tells us what to do explicitly and repeatedly (Mic. 6:8; 1 Pet. 3:8-12). God did not make the way to Him difficult and narrow. We did that. But He is so good and so loving He gave us everything we need to get to Him starting and ending with His Son. And in the immediate context of Paul’s teaching, ultimately it is God’s will that we imitate His Son (Eph. 5:1-2).