"Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked--"
The thing that stands out to me today about this scripture is the everlasting gulf of misery. (weird mind I have, eh?) ... but seriously, if you'll remember, in Lehi's dream, the first thing that he saw was a dark and dreary waste... probably kind of like Arizona... (oh, whoops... just kidding). :) He saw this vast dark and icky place... and he was lost, and scared, and worried. and he prayed to God that he would help him... and that's when he found himself at the path. And so it struck me this morning that the strait (read narrow, rigid, exacting...) and narrow path is something that is designed to help us out of hell, not to keep us from cool experiences. :) I think perhaps we all get to a point in our lives where we are tired of living in the dark and dreary waste... and we want to find a way out. And the gospel offers us a way. The gospel isn't something that God puts here so that he can play with our minds and hearts... it is a lifeline, our salvation in the midst of darkness. We come to this earth to learn, and perhaps our biggest lesson is learning to choose light. How long does it take for us to realize that the vast wasteland isn't good enough? That we need/want/deserve much more? It is all part of the lose yourself to find yourself thing... at what point do we realize that the strictness of the path is not a limitation of our freedom, but rather mere self-control that allows us so much greater freedom? As we grow, we learn that there is a space between action and reaction, and that space is called choice... this choice offers us the freedom to do something other than the typical reaction of the natural man. If someone hits us, do we immediately hit them back? Or can we pause, and make a different choice? This is freedom. The more mastery that we have over self, the more freedom that we have. The more we learn, the more varied our options are. :) God is not restricting us... he is showing us a better way. Instead of the seemingly endless vastness of the waste, he shows us a narrow path, hard to choose... that teaches us what it takes to live without that vast darkness of ambiguity... self control, self knowledge... so that we can learn true love, so that we can learn true happiness... so that we can learn the true and limitless freedom that comes when we learn to control our footsteps.