Recently my sister and I took our parents to visit the north Georgia town in which they had grown up. It had been several years since their last trip there, on that occasion for a funeral. This was strictly a pleasure outing – checking out the old homesteads, visiting with relatives, shopping at a popular farmer’s market, and paying respects to loved ones at the local cemetery.
One of the main topics of conversation that day was about how much everything had changed, not only in that town itself but in the other places we drove through as we made our way toward our destination. Areas that were once open pastures are now filled with stores, restaurants and other businesses. Old familiar landmarks have disappeared and been replaced by modern structures. The comment was made several times along the way, “I recognize the road itself, but everything around it is different.”
Many of us can relate to that sentiment as we seek to keep traveling the road Jesus pointed to as the way which leads to eternal life. “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” (Matthew 7:13-14). The road which leads to life is still there, but so much of the landscape around it has changed. And it’s not simply the change that comes from technological advances and societal progress. Unfortunately, many of the differences making our world less recognizable today stem not from modern improvements but from moral degeneration. While the world moves forward in so many areas of knowledge and skill, we seem to be retreating farther away from the truths, values and biblical principles which have been our guide in the past. The moral and specifically Christian landmarks are being removed. The very spiritual foundation upon which much of our society and nation were built is being threatened.
The road is still there. Jesus is still the one and only Savior of the world. The Bible is still the reliable, eternal Word of God. It is still the uniquely inspired written revelation given to us by our Creator. What it tells us about God’s will, sin, salvation, heaven, hell, judgment, love and grace still holds true today. The surroundings may be transforming into something foreign to what that road stands for, but the road itself is still recognizable to those willing to see it and follow it.
Therefore, those who journey on that road need to be careful. We’ve got to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and not forsake the teachings of His Word. There are many along the side of the road who will beckon for you to turn off onto a side street or to stop and check out some inviting attraction. There are others who will hold up detour signs in attempts to get you off track. There are even those who will try to tell you that you’re on the wrong road. They will claim that the wider, more tolerant, more open-minded way is the real road Christians should be on.
Don’t let today’s landscape fool you. Don’t be deceived by those along the way who will try to point you toward a more politically-correct or popular road. Don’t be frightened by those who oppose you for your determination to follow Jesus and to stay true to God’s Word. Stay the course. Keep your eye on the road. It may be a bumpy ride as our society changes. You may get some rocks thrown at you along the way. But rest assured, it is still the road that leads to life.