Embrace the Narrow Path
A new year has arrived and with it new opportunities. It seems as though the season of time between the Jewish New Year and our own is often filled with tests, trials and challenges, yet it seems that it is those very tests that lead to advancement in this season. As I began to seek the Lord concerning this article, I was deeply impressed by the idea that it is time to reverse the curse and press into a season of rebirth and renewal. As I am sure we are all aware, no promotion comes without a test to determine our readiness for what is coming. The testing of the past 3 months has been a preparation for the next step in your destiny. Knowing this allows us to keep our eyes focused forward with a confidence that where we have been has only prepared us for where we are going. When we walk in the freedom of our destiny, we need the wisdom gleaned from the tests to insure our success.
Remember as you press into what God has for the coming year, that you are called to walk a narrow path and pass through a narrow gate. Matthew 7:14. When you are looking through a narrow opening, you may not see much to the right or the left because your eyes are fixed directly upon the focal point of the opening. There is an abundance of opportunity before you this year, but that does not mean that God is going to widen the opening through which you must pass to reach it. He will keep the path narrow before you in order to keep the focus of your attention upon Jesus.
You have a choice in the days ahead. You can maintain your focus on the Kingdom and tread the path before you step by step until you reach the next expanse of your destiny, or you can give in to the call of the world around you and with great human effort seek to broaden your path in order to obtain more of what seems to be breathing room, but don’t forget that an inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end. Proverbs 20:21. This was the problem Balaam had when his path was narrowed.
We often forget that Balaam was a man who heard from God. When Balaam’s story begins in Numbers 22, he makes clear to Balak that he cannot for all the silver and gold in his palace do anything beyond the command of the Lord his God (v.18). He has been clearly told by God that he is not to curse Israel, because they are blessed (v. 12). Though Balaam cannot do what Balak has asked, a tremendous opportunity remains before him to impact the life of this Moabite king, if only he will stick to the narrow path set before him. While our focus in this story is often upon Balaam’s donkey, consider today the path that was set before Balaam. By verse 21 destiny is before Balaam and he is about to stand before a king with the power to speak life or death. Balaam has set out on this path not through the narrow gate that the Lord had established, but rather by pressing against the narrow opening before him in his own strength and seeking to widen the path to which he has been called. Knowing what was in Balaam’s heart the Lord still chose Balaam’s path in such a way as to give him every opportunity to maintain his course, but Balaam only saw it as trouble.
Consider the imagery of Numbers 22:23-27. First, the way is broad before him and when the donkey sees the Angel of the Lord she is able to turn aside. Next, the Angel moves to a narrow path with a wall on each side. Finally the Angel stands in an even more narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left and it is from this most narrow of places that the Lord speaks to Balaam and sets him on the course of his true purpose, despite his original intent. And our story would end well, but for the fact that Balaam forgets the lesson he learns in the narrow place as soon as the way is broadened before him again.
Has your way been narrow? Have you ever felt that no matter how hard you try, you just don’t seem to get ahead? Remember that it is in the narrow places that God gives the direction that will sustain us on the broader plateau of our destiny. It is easy to fall into the pattern of seeing beyond every blessing to the next test, instead of looking beyond every test to the next blessing. Embrace the narrow path that is set before you with an eager expectation of where it is leading you. 2016 is a year to see through new eyes and to anticipate with new expectations. After all we serve a God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond what we can ask or even imagine. Ephesians 3:20. Set your sights high for the coming year, but hold fast to the narrow path that will lead you there.