The young man thanked him for his kindness and set off-- but the scroll remained in a pack on his back. Right off, he encountered a fork in the road. He hesitated. The left road was slanted, and the middle road was narrow, but the road on the right was wide and comfortable-looking. "I suppose," thought he, "that the road to the right should do. I think the country is in that direction; we shall see." So down that path he went. As he went, however, he began to sense the road to be not quite so good as he thought. It was full of potholes, and there was no place by the way where he could stay the night. So he made a little fire to ward off wolves, slept, and in the morning rose and went on his way.
As he went down this path, he rarely-- nearly never-- took time to look at the map. He was too busy travelling, he thought. And as he went, he encountered more problems. He met with wild animals and was severely maimed. He suffered from sickness from exposure to the elements. Eventually, he entered a dark, thick wood and wandered about unable to find the road. He was never heard from again.
Another young man set out on a journey. Inspiration, too, gave him a map just like he did the other young man. This young man thanked Inspiration and as soon as he was left alone, he sat down on a rock by the wayside and opened the scroll. He studied it carefully, looked at the direction of the sun, and got his bearings. Then he got up and went on his way.
Soon he came to the fork in the road. He promptly pulled out the map. Next to the fork in the road, in small writing, were the words, "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 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." With that, the young man looked before him and kept down the middle path.
As he went he came to a dark, narrow valley. It was so dark that he could hardly see where he was stepping. At first he was a little frightened, and wondered if he had indeed taken the right path. But then he remembered his map. He pulled it out and looked at the mysteriously illumined page. Indeed, he was on the right path, and next to it were the words, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me." Encouraged, he kept on.
The journey was long, but he referred daily to the map, and every time he encountered a problem or a question, he wasted no time in pulling out the scroll and seeing what to do next. He studied the map frequently-- so frequently that he had much of it memorized. Finally he reached a beautiful land, where all was perfect. The way was smooth, the grass was green, the flowers bloomed, and not a rain cloud decked the sky. Here he was met by a kind and gentle Shepherd who greeted him and introduced himself as Jesus. "I have led you throughout your journey, even when you did not realize it. I drew the map you carried with you, and shed light on it over your shoulder when it would be otherwise to dark to read. Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
And so he did, proclaiming with joy, "Thy Word was a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
As we press towards Christlikeness, we cannot do it our own way or in our own flesh. We need God's presence, His will, His way in our lives. He reveals Himself to us through His Holy Word, the Bible. This is why we must diligently read it, meditate on it, memorize it, and engrain in into our hearts and lives. When the path is rough, we will have the assurance of His love and goodness promised in His Word, and we will know what He would have us to do. Isn't it a wonderful thing that He has given us such a gift, and not hidden the way from us? How then can we ignore it and go on down the path of life blindly?
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward."