I drive on 69 Highway between Chouteau and Pryor just about every day. Why would I do that when I know it is under construction, the traffic is often backed up, and the speed limit is 45 mph? The answer is that it gets me where I want to go. Other roads may be more pleasant to travel on, but they won’t get me to my desired destination.
As we journey through life, it is important to realize that the way we choose to travel will take us to one of two final destinations. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
According to Jesus, one way leads to destruction, and the other way leads to life. Jesus says that many people are traveling the way that leads to destruction, while few are traveling the way that leads to life. If the majority of people are living lives that lead to destruction, as Jesus taught, it is obvious that they do not realize where they are going.
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Where is the person who has never taken a road or trail that seemed right, only to find out that it was the wrong way? It is important for us to realize that the same thing often happens in the spiritual realm. People think they are living right and doing things that please God, but they are mistaken. The road they are traveling leads to destruction rather than to heaven.
In other words, on the Day of Judgment, there will be many people who expected to go to heaven, but who will be lost. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” What could possibly be worse than that?
Jesus plainly teaches that on the Day of Judgment, there will be many people who thought they had been serving Him, but they were mistaken. Jesus will tell them He does not know them. Although they did what they thought was right, they did not obey God. The Bible is filled with numerous examples of religious people who had to be converted because they had not been obedient to God. For example, Saul of Tarsus said in Acts 23:1, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” Yet, he also said in Acts 26:9, “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” He was sincere, but he was wrong. The same could happen to us!
Paul had many loved ones in the same situation (Romans 10:1-3). They were very zealous in doing what they thought God wanted them to do, but they had not obeyed God’s commands. They thought they were doing God’s will, but they were mistaken. Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 10:23, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” What sounds right may not be right!
God has given mankind the Bible as our guide that provides directions to eternal life. We must trust Him and travel according to the directions He gives to us. Since God’s ways and thoughts are not the same as ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), we need to have the faith to do what He instructs. If we trust man’s ways, we may be terribly disappointed. But if we will obey God rather than man, His way will lead us home to heaven.