HAVE you been following one zigzag course after another? Don't know where you are going? Are you feeling that you're never going to find the way to accomplishing anything worthwhile?
Christ Jesus described himself as "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Explaining this way more fully, he said, "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14). Jesus was referring to what he taught about God when he made these statements. He is a perfect example of someone who followed the straight and narrow way of obedience to God that he advocated. The message of Jesus reveals God's presence and power even today.
It doesn't matter how far you have strayed from the straight and narrow way. Whether you have wasted your time, said something you regret, made a terrible mistake, or whatever, God is a God of forgiveness and love, who is always ready and waiting for you to hear Him. If you want to stop zigzagging, look to the teachings and example of Jesus for guidance. He didn't seek to do his personal will, but always listened for God's direction and followed what he heard.
So how does one find out what God's will is for himself or herself? Through prayer. To pray as Jesus showed is to pray in the manner of the Science of Christian healing discovered by Mary Baker Eddy. It is to put aside one's own human opinions-to stop focusing on what the five physical senses are indicating-and then to listen humbly for what the voice of God is saying.
"But," you might ask, "how do I distinguish between God's messages and my own human thoughts?" Well, your motives-that is, your intentions-are important. If you really, really want to hear God, you will be willing to ask Him to show you His way, and to say in the words of the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done" (Matthew 6:10). You'll seek His will and humbly listen to know it. The answer will come in a way that you can understand. It will be peaceful and certain. It will feel like a right solution, and it will never trespass on the lives of others. This is the practical way to follow the straight and narrow way.
In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy warned against taking a zigzag course. Science and Health, first published in 1875, interprets the Scriptures spiritually. It says on that point: "Being in sympathy with matter, the worldly man is at the beck and call of error, and will be attracted thitherward. He is like a traveller going westward for a pleasure-trip. The company is alluring and the pleasures exciting. After following the sun for six days, he turns east on the seventh, satisfied if he can only imagine himself drifting in the right direction" (p. 21). Christian Science shows the causes of slow progress and zigzagging-"sympathy with matter"-to be preoccupation with selfishness, sensuality, sickness, materialism. Don't thoughts of these show we have the wrong priorities? Don't they add up to hearing the voice of evil and not the messages of God?
Mrs. Eddy went on to say of the traveler in this predicament, "By-and-by, ashamed of his zigzag course, he would borrow the passport of some wiser pilgrim, thinking with the aid of this to find and follow the right road" (pp. 21-22). We find the right road by following the truth the Bible teaches.
I was asked once to be a pianist in a musical production. It would involve three months of rehearsals, and I had only three days to make a decision. I wanted to know the right answer. So I prayed for God's will to be shown to me. Then a Bible quotation from the book of First Peter caught my attention: "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (4:10). My answer was to use my musical ability in the service of others. I went straight ahead, and enjoyed the results that followed. This is just one small example of how following the straight and narrow way Jesus spoke of can have practical application in daily life.