Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. (Pro 4:26-27)
The narrow path of faith often lies between opposite evils. It is tempting to think that if one thing is evil, its opposite must be good.In some cases that is true. In other times that strict either/or thinking is atrap. There can be an evil to the left and an opposite evil to the right.Wisdom seeks the narrow path that does not turn to the left or the right.
There is an evil way of self-serving pride, ego and arrogance. It is a false confidence in ones self and leads to destruction. Avoiding it takes only an honest circumspection. Anyone who honestly examines himself will easily discover weakness, limits and failings. Yet, this honesty of our condition can lead to an opposite evil. On the left hand lie pride, ego and arrogance. On the right hand lurk fear, uncertainty and doubt.
The recognition of our weakness can easily lead to an inordinate fear. Realizing the trials and problems we face and our inability to overcome them by our will, we can step off into a place of fearful paralysis. Out of that fear, uncertainty and doubt we can fall into apathy, despair and ultimately into defeat. The way of faith lies between false pride in our own abilities and fear arising from our weakness.
The courage we need to overcome fear is born out of the knowledge that we are not alone. When fear comes, remember the words of thetwenty-third Psalm: "Yea, though I walk the valley of the shadow of death, Iwill fear no evil, for Thou art with me." The sure word of God that He will not abandon us even in the face of great trial is our greatest strength. Holding on by faith in that promise of God gives us the courage to walk through whatever may come. Like Abraham, who "staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God."
There is also the threat of uncertainty. Our limited perception and understanding means that we never know the future with total certainty. It seems it ought not have to be that way. Yet, uncertainty comes only when we trust in our limited abilities. It is unfortunate that the word "faith" is often associated with uncertainty. In essence, faith is complete certainty. It is confidence -- "con" meaning "with" and "fide" meaning faith. Confidence is "with faith" and it is faith in God's power that removes the burden of uncertainty. Though I do not know what is ahead, God knows. He has already mapped out the way and all that is needed from me is to follow it. As Psalms 37 says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." When we walk by faith, uncertainty is replaced with the delight in walking the path of God's ways.
Likewise, the temptation to doubt will come from time to time. If we see and understand our failings there is a tendency to doubt the imputed righteousness we have received by faith in Jesus. Also, when it seems that everything around us is nothing but trouble, we can step into a condition of doubt. It is all too easy to think there must be something wrong with us when everything around us is going wrong. We forget that trials and tribulations are part of our walk. But we need only be patient in our faith. The spirit of God works in us, sometimes slowly but surely, transforming, reshaping, and eliminating those places in the heart that are filled with the remains of carnal desire. "Faith worketh patience" as the epistle of James says. It is faith that is willing to trudge onward, despite our doubts, knowing that in time the spirit working in us will complete the regeneration of the soul.
Above all, it is the sureness of the love of God for us that gives us the certain hope we need in order to endure.
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the daylong; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:36-39)
In the sureness of that love, trusting Him, we can walk on, wavering neither to the left or right, but always along that narrow way of faith.