by Jerry Gentry
"And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein" (Isa. 35:8).
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12), the Bible says. Herein we learn a fundamental lesson of the human heart, which cannot be trusted. Christians are admonished to "make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed" (Hebr. 12:13). What is "the way," spoken of so often in scripture?
There is a highway of holiness, little known and least walked, even among Christians. How can we as Christians find the highway of holiness?
When Jesus walked the earth, there was "a certain man [who] said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest" (Luke 9:57).
"And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (v. 58).
"And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father" (v. 59).
"Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God" (v. 60).
Such was the training of Jesus' disciples, who were "witnesses of these things" (Luke 24:48). He walked with them and talked with them. "He went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him" (Luke 8:1).
Even the devils recognized that "the way" of Jesus was holy. "Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God" (Luke 4:34). Christian, do you today walk in the highway of holiness, the very way of "the Holy One of God"? Is your life marked with genuine holiness? How would you know? What does it mean to walk in the highway of holiness?
Take a walk today into the Word of God, and learn a lesson in the way of holiness. Learn that "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD" (Isa. 55:8). That being true, how then can we learn to think and walk in the way of holiness, when "it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps?" The entrance to the highway of holiness is found when we dedicate our heart, our hands and our feet altogether to the LORD.
Did you know that "the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings" (Prov. 5:21)? And, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits" (Prov. 16:2). Further still, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23). Christian, if man's "heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9), how then can each of us today find and walk in the highway of holiness?
Certainly the way of holiness is defined in how we live our lives and interact with others. But we cannot measure holiness in outward acts alone. Genuine holiness comes not from our legalistic performance of do's and don'ts, not even from sharing familiar buzz words and language of our particular group. Holiness comes from a heart that seeks after God, as the psalmist confesses:
"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God" (Psa 42:1). It is first with our hearts that we find entrance to the highway of holiness.
Only then can it be said, "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps" (Prov. 16:9). Only then can it be said, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way" (Ps. 37:23). Only then have we learned that the way of holiness is first discovered in our thought life.
The Bible says, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8). Yes, set our course in the way of holiness when we learn to "think on these things".
We've all met people who "wandereth out of the way of understanding [who] shall remain in the congregation of the dead" (Prov. 21:16). Not only are such common people correctly admonished, but the Bible identifies and rebukes even ministers who "are departed out of the way. . . [and] have caused many to stumble at the law. . . [and] have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts" (Mal. 2:8).
Will you live and walk today in the way of holiness? If so, you must make discovery into your own deceitful heart. Open your heart today and let the Holy Spirit teach you how you must find and walk in the way of holiness, the genuine high road to the kingdom. Christian, will you set your heart to "seek the LORD God of. . . [your] fathers with all. . . [your] heart and with all their soul" (2Chr. 15:12)?
Every generation must find its way back into the way of holiness, which involves the devotion of our hearts, the works of our hands and the pathways of our feet. The prophet Moses taught the people. "For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands" (Deut. 31:29).
The Bible says, "he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger" (Job 17:9). Do you today commit acts of iniquity with your hands? Do your "hands refuse to labour" (Prov. 21:25)? Or have you yielded your hands in the service of God and fellow man? Will you "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD" (Ps. 134:2)? Will you "clap your hands, all ye people; [and] shout unto God with the voice of triumph" (Ps. 47:1).
Are you a wife who "seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands" (Prov. 31:13), who "stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy" (v. 20)? Yes? Then you are a Proverbs 31 wife. Are you a man who "foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh" (Eccl. 4:5)? Hear the admonition: "by much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through" (Eccl. 10:18). Worse still, are "your hands. . . full of blood" (Isa. 1:15)?
Will you "cast away. . . [your] idols of silver, and. . . idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin" (Isa. 31:7)?
Will you "walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous" (Prov. 2:20)? "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:3).
Will you "leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness" (v. 13), or will you "as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk" (1Cor. 7:17)? Do your "feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood" (Isa. 59:7)? Are yours "feet that be swift in running to mischief" (Prov. 6:18)? Do you "walk in the ways of darkness" (Prov. 2:13)?
Or, are "your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:15)?
We have all heard how the Old Covenant high priest entered "the most holy place" (Exod. 26:34), once each year, to make atonement for the people. Yet, even then "the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing" (Hebr. 9:8). The way of holiness was made manifest through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who said, "I am the way" (John 14:6), "My judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (John 5:30).
Only when we submit our hands, our hearts and and our feet in the service of Jesus have we entered the way of holiness. Only when we have submitted to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength" (Mark 12:30), have we embarked down the highway of holiness. And only then can we claim the promise: "unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:28).
With heart, hands and feet, we dedicate ourselves to the service of God. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8). "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed" (Hebr. 12:12-13). For "In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death" (Prov. 12:28).
"For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings" (Job 34:21). "The recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him" (Prov. 12:14). "Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps" (Ps. 85:13).
"Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death" (Jer. 21:8). "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deut. 30:19).
The highway of holiness is the way our father Abraham walked, when "he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebr. 11:10). The highway of holiness is the road Hannah walked, when "she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore" (1Sam 1;10).
"And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life" (v. 11).
The LORD answered Hannah's prayer, and Samuel was born, who challenged King Saul's walk along the low road of self will. Amidst King Saul's personal compromise, Samuel pointed him to the highway of holiness: "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1Sam. 15:22).
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king" (v. 23).
The highway of holiness is the call to "Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1Pet. 1:16), because "he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation" (1Pet. 1:15). The highway of holiness calls us to the heart of God. It calls each of us to find and walk at the center of God's will for our lives.
"For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches" (Rom. 11:16).
It is the call that "by the mercies of God. . . , ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph. 1:4).
The call to walk the highway of holiness is to every member of the church of God, "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:27).
The highway of holiness is that road called a Christian life we are all called to walk. Christian, will you today commit your heart, your hands and your feet to travel the highway of holiness?
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat" (Mat 7:13).
"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (v. 14).
Only when your heart melts and your daily walk narrows into the center of God's will for your life, in contrast with this world's "broad. . . way, that leadeth to destruction," have you found the highway of holiness.