Many of us are familiar with the poem by Robert Frost entitled “The Road Not Taken”.
…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
On any given day we have many choices to make. While some of our choices are clear for all to see (Will I take the highway or the back roads? Will I buy coffee at Starbucks or make it at home?), there are many choices made unseen. These choices are in our minds, often made almost involuntarily. Responses that are seemingly second nature after awhile, like we don’t even have a choice.
I mean, I feel fearful…I feel anxious…I feel hurt…I feel unmotivated…so many feelings. Which path will I travel when there are so many feels? There are two paths and I’m afraid one seems to be very well-traveled. The worn ruts reveal the many times I’ve chosen to believe my fearful feelings, when I have chosen to be led away by my hurts and offenses, or when I’ve given in to my laziness and so many other temptations.
What other choice do I have, though? Nature seems to take its course; can I ever change?
Two roads diverged…maybe it’s time to take the one less traveled? Perhaps instead of being led away by my fear, I instead choose faith? Instead of letting my flesh call the shots, how about if I agree with the Holy Spirit and let Him lead me towards forgiveness and love that generously covers over offenses? Given a choice, it might be easy to be led away by my unmotivated flesh, but choosing the path less traveled might instead result in diligent work done in the name of the Lord!
Knowing there are two paths is important before taking the first step. If my eyes are fixed only on the well-worn path, the one my flesh leads me in over and over again, the one that Satan is all too pleased each time I travel it, then I may become blind to the other option. When I’m believing my feelings more than the truth of God’s word, I will indeed become blind. But, look around. There is another way. Following the Holy Spirit’s lead will bring about life as He fills you with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
It may be hard to believe it when our feelings are so adamant, but this fruit is life-giving, and as we travel this Holy Spirit-led path we will look more and more like Jesus Himself. However, if we continue in the path that our natural man wants to take over and over again, the result is destruction.
- Choose the path of fear? Keep walking on that road and soon the ‘what-if’ scenarios become overwhelming. Anger joins us on this walk. Anxiety and depression begin to creep along. Despair isn’t far away.
- Choose the path of hurt or resentment? Holding a grudge can power that journey for awhile. Others may even join us along the way to reinforce our feelings. But, before too long, relationships and lives are destroyed, our own foremost.
- Choose the path of complaining instead of thankfulness? While those murmurs and grumbles may feel good for a time as we travel, our eyesight will grow dim and soon we won’t be able to see anything we can appreciate or be genuinely thankful for.
Choose the path of lust…the path of gluttony or lack of self-control…the path of disrespect…the path of pride…the path of getting even…the path of impurity…
Apart from the Holy Spirit, our flesh will choose these paths that lead to death. But, there is hope–Christ has given His children His Holy Spirit! The more we choose to follow Him and believe Him (He is the Spirit of Truth!), then this will indeed make all the difference.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.Galatians 5:16-25