The Two Paths of Life
How many people realise that there are really only two paths of life?
And how many realise how important it is to choose the right path?
“The path is smooth that leadeth on to danger” [William Shakespeare]
“Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.” [ Friedrich Nietzsche ]
Nietzsche’s statement summarizes the point very succinctly: Most people stubbornly pursue a path in life which does not lead to the real goal of life! There is another path that leads to this goal.
Yes, people can choose to follow, for example, a path leading to wealth or a path leading to power, or a path of pleasure seeking, or a path of apathy and laziness, or a path exploring sexual boundaries in relationships. According to the Bible all these paths merge to the wrong path in life – a path that does not lead to the ultimate goal of life.
In fact, this path is dangerous. The Bible describes it as “the way that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7 verse 13). The Greek word for destruction is “apoleia”, meaning “loss in the physical, spiritual and eternal sense”. The loss is unimaginable!
The alternative path in life, the correct path is narrow (more difficult to follow) but is the one that leads to real purpose in life, and eternal life. This path starts by believing in the risen Christ.
A quick search of the web for “paths of life” brings up some good ideas for living a meaningful life. For instance, the field of social psychology suggests the following:
- Use time wisely
- Love learning. Be curious
- Socially engage (don’t be shy)
- Don’t be mundane – try some calculated risks
- Try and change the world for the better
Merge these objectives and your particular path in life could feel very fulfilled. As has been said:
‘People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost’.
The first sentence in this quote is certainly true. There are many ways to seek fulfilment in life, many paths or roads. But the second sentence widens the debate: can people be “lost” in their seeking? Despite being on a path “trying to make the world a better place”, for example, can they be on a path to nowhere?
If we take the biblical view, some people (in fact, most people) are definitely on the wrong path, and are ‘lost’ in a very serious way. Leave aside the detail, like using time wisely, or being socially engaged, and look at the big picture. The Bible says that there are really just two paths in life, one right and one wrong, one that leads to blessing, one that ends in destruction. It comes down to where the heart is, rather than what we do.
The psalmist David was certain his God would place him on the right path in life:
You will show me the path of lifePsalm 16:11
For David, there was only one path worth following: the path of life. The other path does not lead to life. Jesus illustrated this point using entrance gates to these two paths:
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many go that way … narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find itMatthew 7:13-14
Jesus is saying that in God’s sight, looking at the big picture, there are just two paths of life: right and wrong, good and evil, the way to heaven and the way to hell. All of humanity walks along one of these two paths. In God’s sight all are saints or sinners, godly or ungodly.
The Broad Way – the Wrong Way
Entering life’s journey through the wide gate leads us to a ‘broad path’ with many side tracks. Some would say we enter a Dawkins type world of chance with the sole purpose of passing on our DNA. This world has no absolutes or boundaries, so virtually anything goes. The path seems easy and it seems we have free choice to do virtually anything. We can choose to follow the tracks of wealth or power, and many do. We can seek life’s meaning by reading the great philosophers like Socrates or Nietzsche, link, or follow New Age ideas, or Islam, or Atheism.
Clearly, our worldview or belief system has no bounds and we can believe virtually anything! But this leads to a fuzzy belief system and fuzzy understanding about the world. This world has many side tracks, many beliefs and many theories of life. But where is the truth?
Then there’s our personal life. With ever varying culturally defined moral boundaries we can experiment in relationships and float from one to another. If it’s OK for you, then it’s OK. We can even legally marry someone of the same sex.
Now for the big one: those who reject Christ may feel free in a world of chance and personal choice. They sense no control. But in reality their thinking and actions are controlled by powerful and unseen spiritual forces – all led by the god of this world. In reality, they live alone in a cold, unloving, unjust world without help. As the Bible says:
the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelieving2 Corinthians 4:4, NASB
Consequences of Our Actions
Being broad, this path it is relatively easy to follow (and many do), but all tracks eventually lead to trouble. As Shakespeare put it, ‘the smooth path leads to danger’. Jesus was more explicit: “the broad path leads to destruction”. The seeds of trouble and eventual destruction are sown as this path is walked. Like it or not, there are unpleasant consequences to ungodly actions, like harbouring an unforgiving heart, the selfish pursuit of wealth or living an immoral life. God’s unseen spiritual law applies to all, and none can escape. So if we ‘sow to the wind we will reap the whirlwind’.
Of course, many on this path do ‘good works’ and appear to be ‘good people’. Some even try to work their way to God through ‘good actions’. But whatever we do it is relative to God’s righteousness and all have sinned and fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23). The New Testament makes it clear that there is only one way to God, and that is through belief in His Son, Jesus (John 14:6). That is the ‘narrow path’ of life.
The Narrow Way – the Right Way
First we make the point that Satan – the god of this world – is only god to those who reject Christ and therefore default to him. For those who trust in Christ, Satan is there, and attacks, but he is defeated. So rather than being under the god of this world, followers of Jesus are under God’s Fatherly care, as children (Romans 8:15-16). The god of this world lost all authority over believers through Christ’s death and resurrection (John 12.31). Secondly, we notice that there are relatively few people on this path. It can be lonely, since only a few find that narrow gate. Look at the empty churches!
As they walk this narrow path, believers can be guided along it and protected from wrong turns or decisions (Proverbs 16:9, Psalm 37:5). They can even be protected from Satanic attack. Such guidance is like a boundary to stop us wandering off the path. Of course, even this path has dangers and believers often suffer in this fallen world. For instance, believers are told to fight for justice (Mic 6:8), but often they do not see justice done. It’s as though there is a boundary to the execution of true justice, and we have to wait for true justice to be done at the judgement. In this sense the path is narrow and difficult.
Life on the narrow path is one of serving God rather than ourselves. Our self-defined ambition in the Dawkins world morphs into serving God and life takes on real purpose. With God’s help, our service to God can be seen as unbounded and powerful. Jesus put it something like this:
Whoever loses his own selfish life for My sake will find real lifeMatthew 16:25, paraphrase
The concepts of guidance and service suggest that God has a plan for our lives (Ps 139:16). Life is not a pointless existence. Certainly our steps along the path are ‘ordered’ by God (Ps 37:23) and (if we listen) God ‘instructs’ us in the way to go (Ps 32:8). So what appear to be free-will decisions often turn out to be the best for us:
All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposeRomans 8:28
Then there’s belief and understanding. As we travel along this path, believing in God our Father and the living Lord Jesus, God promises to guide us into “all truth” (John 16:13). This puts transcendent bounds on our beliefs, making them firm and preventing them from wandering off into myths and humanistic thinking. Absolute truths are revealed.
Since this understanding is from outside ourselves, it implies there is almost no limit to obtaining a true understanding of the world – a world as God sees it. Of course, the limit is our finite minds, and we see only part of the picture (1 Corinthians 13:12). Likewise, as we walk this narrow path we can develop a Christ-like love that is almost without bounds. This is the most important attribute we develop as we walk the path (1 Corinthians 13).
Lastly, the narrow path constrains us to live moral lives and places boundaries on sexual relationships. For example, in God’s eyes these should be heterosexual and then only within the bounds of marriage.
Consequences of Our Actions
Just as wrong actions on the broad path lead to bad consequences, so a life of good actions on the narrow path leads to many blessings. This also is God’s unseen spiritual law. So for example, if we give we are given back even more, if we have a good spirit our health benefits, if we bless Israel we will be blessed, and if we trust in God we will have His peace.
As mentioned, it is indeed possible to wander off the narrow path into error. We can do ‘bad actions’ as well as good ones whilst walking the narrow path. And when we do wander off we suffer the consequences of our error. Sadly, many Christians have found this to be true, but it is also true that we can be forgiven and reconciled to our Father in heaven (1 John 1:9).
The Battleground – Cultural Marxism
The two paths are now clear. According to the Bible we have a binary choice in life:
Enter [life] through the narrow gate [follow the narrow path)]; for the gate is wide and the path is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it . . . For the gate is small and the path is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.Mathew 7:13,14
But why does the majority of mankind follow the broad path to nowhere, the path leading to ultimate destruction? The answer: deception. Some say the deception started in the permissive 1960’s and has rapidly gained momentum in the last few decades. It’s called Cultural Marxism, CM.
Recall that the traditional Marxist state aims to abolish the capitalist class system in order to make all people equal. Certainly, economic inequality is a problem:
Global inequality has gotten worse, with the richest 1% grabbing nearly two-thirds of the $42 trillion of wealth newly-created since 2020. [ World Economic Forum, WEF, 2023 ]
The WEF claims the existence of such inequality is evidence that capitalism has failed. But is CM a solution? Attorney Alexander Zubatov claimed CM “is a coherent intellectual program”, but adds “it is (also) a constellation of dangerous ideas”. Others define CM as a radical political ideology promoted by left-wing activists with the aim of undermining western social and cultural institutions. Some objectives of CM are:
- To pursue the moral corruption of the people e.g. make homosexuality an alternative lifestyle
- To dictate to the masses how to live and what to think (aka political correctness)
- To destroy the Judeo-Christian family structure
- To take God and prayer out of education
- To encourage the interfaith movement
- To make divorce and abortion easier
Clearly CM is a godless ideology and, in contrast to the Bible, it insists that all human beings are basically good. It is an ideology offering (false) “liberation” from the Judeo-Christian culture of society. And ultimately it will result in the imposition of a controlling and progressive agenda on society. Leading UK Conservatives recognise the danger:
Yes, I do believe we are in a battle against cultural Marxism . . . We have culture evolving from the far left which has allowed the snuffing out of freedom of speech, freedom of thought . . .(I am) very aware of that ongoing creep of cultural Marxism.Suella Braverman,MP
How does Cultural Marxism influence our path in life?
Over the decades, this creep of culture change has been blindly accepted by a large sector of Western society, and even by the church. For instance, a majority of society now accepts gay marriage [Gallup poll], and society is now aware of the need to be “politically correct” (at the cost of burying absolute biblical truth). It is easier to take the path of least resistance (the broad path) rather than try and retain the norms of the 1950’s – especially when the culture changes are backed by new laws!
In short, the majority have been led unknowingly onto the wrong path in life by a subtle godless agenda. Whatever noble aims they choose on their path in life, they are influenced by godless cultural Marxism. In contrast, a minority try to reject these influences and try to follow the right path.
Paths of Life – Summary
Choose the narrow path in life and not a free-choice existence bounded by twinges of conscience. In God’s sight a free-choice existence is a pointless existence, similar to living in a Dawkins world, but with loose and variable conscience-defined boundaries. The majority of mankind lives like this. Rather, real life stems from choosing one of two paths, one broad and relatively easy (but leading to destruction) and the other narrow and relatively hard (but leading to real life).
Suppose we choose the narrow path and trust in Jesus Christ. This path leads to a life that loses its self-defined purpose in the Richard Dawkins world and finds purpose in living for Christ:
- It’s a life of picking flowers (receiving good things) by the wayside
- It’s a life of thanking our Creator God (our heavenly Father) for golden sunsets and delicious food
- It’s a life of loving the needy and lost as our path crosses those on the broad path
- It’s a life of committing our way to Christ when we need guidance
- It’s a life of trusting that God has a plan, and all that happens along the path is best for us (despite problems)
- It’s a life of rewards for following God’s Law written on our hearts
- It’s a life of comforting hope in the face of pending death
- And at the end of the path, at the end of life, we will again be rewarded for how well we have walked that narrow path