Did you climb over the stile or walk the hard and straight path?
Here is a story for you to read. I believe that it coincides a lot with certain events in our lives. As you read it, I encourage you to think of when you have followed this example.I hope that you will gain strength as you understand how we can avoid certain troubles if we simply follow God's laws and how He says we should obey Him including resisting temptation.
As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream... Now the way from the river was rough, and their feet tender, by reason of their travels; so the souls of the pilgrims were much discouraged because of the way. Wherefore, still as they went on, they wished for a better way. Now, a little before them, there was on the left hand of the road a meadow, and a stile to go over into it; and that meadow is called By-path Meadow.
Then said Christian to his fellow, “If this meadow lies along by our wayside, let us go over into it.”
Then he went to the stile to see, and behold, a path lay along by the way, on the other side of the fence.
“It is according to my wish,” said Christian. “Here is the easiest going; come, good Hopeful, and let us go over.”
Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. Num. 21:4
When it is hard, we often wish for an easier way. The trouble comes most often when we begin to look for an easier way ourselves instead of asking guidance from the Lord whether there even is an easier way. After we seek God, we should wait on His timing to bring us to the easier path. It may be immediately or it may be after we have suffered a while and learned character. If we trust God and seek to learn what He wants us to, we become strengthened in faith through the trials of life.
Hesistantly, Hopeful said, “But what if this path should lead us out of the way?”
Christian replied, “That is not likely. Look, doesn't it not go along by the wayside?”
So Hopeful, being persuaded by his fellow, went after him over the stile. When they were gone over, and were got into the path, they found it very easy for their feet; they, looking before them, espied a man walking as they did, (and his name was Vain-confidence); so they called after him, and asked him where that way led.
He said, “To the Celestial Gate.”
“Look,” said Christian, “did not I tell you so? By this you may see we are right.”
So they followed, and he went before them. But, behold, the night came on, and it grew very dark; so that Christian and Hopeful lost sight of Vain-confidence.
At times we look around us to see if we are doing the right thing instead of looking up and following the highest example:Jesus. It makes us feel better when we compare ourselves to weaker ones or people with about the same talent, gifts or who look like we do. The thing is, if we compare ourselves to God, we'll find ourselves humbled in the place we should be which turns out to be the best thing for us.
Vain-confidence, not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep pit which was made there on purpose by the Prince of those grounds to catch vain-glorious fools and was dashed in pieces by his fall.
For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed. Isa. 9:16
Now Christian and his fellow heard him fall. So they called to know the matter, but there was none to answer, only they heard groaning.
Then said Hopeful, “Where are we now?”
Christian became silent, mistrusting that he had led his friend out of the way. It now began to rain and thunder in a very dreadful manner and the water rose quickly.
Hopeful groaned in himself, saying, “Oh, that I had kept on my way!”
Then Christian said, “Who could have thought that this path should have led us out of the way?”
Hopeful replied, “I was afraid of it at the beginning and thus gave you that gentle caution. I would have spoken plainer, but that you are older than I.”
“Good brother, do not be offended.” said Christian. “I am sorry that I have brought you out of the way and put you into such imminent danger. Pray, my brother, forgive me. I did not do it with evil intent.”
“Be comforted, my brother, for I forgive thee,” answered Hopeful.” Believe that this shall be for our good.”
Then Christian said, “I am glad I have with me a merciful brother, but we must not stand here. Let us try to go back again.
Set your heart toward the highway. Turn again to the way which you went. Jeremiah 31:21
Then I thought that it is easier to go out of the way when we are in than to go back in when we are out. Yet Christian and Hopeful tried go back, but it was so dark and the flood was so high that in their going back they almost drowned nine or ten times. Neither could they, with all the skill they had, get again to the stile that night.
The pilgrims now, to gratify the flesh,
Will seek its ease; but oh! how they afresh
Do thereby plunge themselves new griefs into!
Who seek to please the flesh, themselves undo.
Your sister in Christ,
Taken from The Pilgrim's Progress from this world to that which is to come by John Bunyan.
Adapted by me.