You Take the High Road
Most of our readers are probably acquainted with the old song that says, "You take the high road, and I'll take the low road, and I'll be in Scotland afore ye."
Whatever the high road and the low road may have represented generations ago when this song first became popular, today "taking the high road" has become an expression designed to encourage people to choose a better path, become a better person, or handle a situation in a more mature manner. To take the high road is to endeavor to be the best, do the best, and have the best outcome.
As we strive to take the high road in our religious lives, we should remember what our Creator tells us through the book of Isaiah:
"Seek YHVH while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to YHVH, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares YHVH. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it'" (Isaiah 55:6-11).
God's thoughts, and His ways, are so much higher than ours, how could we even expect to have an accurate mental picture of God? Our thoughts (without His Spirit) can't begin to approach His thoughts. We, as mere humans, aren't on the same level as God!
Yet, all too often, we might paint a mental picture for ourselves of what God might be like, and color the picture with our own human weaknesses and failings. Many a believer has created in his own mind, even unwittingly, a picture of God which looks very much like a picture of a man.
This isn't to suggest that God is a shapeless blob, or that He doesn't have the arms and legs, fingers and facial features that He says He has. Rather, we need to remind ourselves that it's easy to create God in our image, even without meaning to do so.
Paul wrote about certain people who deliberately "exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures" (Romans 1:23). These wicked people did all sorts of unnatural and evil things, outlined in the remainder of the first chapter of Romans.
We also, in all innocence, can "box" God into a mental image with which we can be comfortable. J. B. Phillips, the British theologian and Bible translator, wrote a book entitled Your God Is Too Small. In it, Phillips tries to show that God is grander than any concept of Him we could have.
God's ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than ours. Yet we are encouraged to seek Him, and call on Him, while He may be found.
Even in the days of Isaiah, people knew that rain comes down from heaven, bringing life and growth, then returns to heaven as vapor. God said His word does the same thing: It comes down from Him, accomplishing what He intends, and does not return to Him empty. Paul also used the analogy that he planted, and another man watered, but it was God who gave the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).
Does God's word return to Him, as the rains return to the skies? We might ask if our own words have ever returned to us. If we stop to think about it, when we are careless in what we say, our words can often come back to us at a later time, with a vengeance. But when "anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God" (1 Peter 4:11, NIV) -- not thinking we have any great authority from God, but rather that we should try to speak only godly things to each other.
As we try to find the high road and take it, as we try to live God's Way, let's remember that the high road, although strait and narrow, is the road that leads to eternal life in the resurrection.
As God's children, our thoughts and our ways will then be very much like those of our Father. But in the meantime, since we are still limited to this human existence, we must make every effort to copy, or pattern, our behavior and our thoughts to what we think God's behavior and thoughts would be. Not an easy task, by any means!
We can only learn what God reveals about His thoughts and behaviors by reading about Him in His book, the Bible. If we see the Eternal God, or Yeshua the Messiah, loving and forgiving people, we should be able to do the same -- or at least be willing to try! After we have practiced forgiveness over and over again, it ultimately becomes a habit in our lives.
If we read of the Messiah being mighty in prayer, always trying to stay close to God, then we should try to copy that aspect of His personality and make it our own.
In many ways such as these, we can exert effort and energy into becoming closer to God, and more like God, to whatever extent we can. If we keep our minds pointed heavenward, rather than down to the earth, we can stay focused on doing these things.
The low road is the way that leads to the earth, being earthy, and of a sinful nature. The high road is the Way, that takes our minds closer to heaven, and takes us closer to God.
You take the high road.