The Maze of Off Ramps

I don’t know if you have experienced what I am about to talk about, but there are times when I study God’s Word, and look at some of the misunderstandings, divisions and false teachings that do abound, within Christianity, that I wonder how in the world is one supposed to navigate through this maze, while learning of Jesus and what He would have us comprehend, and at the same time, maintain some resemblance of Christian love and compassion towards all who come across our paths, in this quagmire of a world that we live in. To say that the task can be daunting is a bit of an understatement.

Each generation, throughout history, has had their own tailored maze of particulars to walk through and come to terms with. These particulars can and do, indeed differ, depending on the time frame and the geographical location that one is in, but this experience that I speak of, is not just isolated to our own set of circumstances, but is in fact, consistent throughout all of recorded history, as it relates to the dawning and establishment of Judaism and the establishment and growth of the Christian Church.

But, as Christians, we do have a road map, which is our Christian Bible, that contains both the Old and the New Testaments. And in order to successfully navigate this maze that is set before us, it is absolutely imperative that we be very familiar with that road map. And that doesn’t mean just parts of it, it means all of it, because the Bible does indeed, contain the whole counsel of God that God would have us know and understand. That word “whole” is critical, because developing a Biblical understanding on any Biblical topic, does necessitate that we have access to and understand the implications of, all of the parts of that particular equation or topic.

And of course, reading, discerning and applying God’s Holy Word, takes time, considerable time as God opens His Word to us through the leading of the Holy Spirit and our expanding comprehension to the difference between His ways and His thoughts and our ways and our thoughts, and as most of us know, who have earnestly started on this walk of discovery, the depth, width and height of God’s whole counsel literally knows no boundaries. It is in fact, a life long endeavour, that never ends.

The Jews put great emphasis and value on God’s Holy Word and yet, for far too many of them, they missed it. In John 5:39-40 NASB Jesus said the following” “You examine the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is those very Scriptures that testify about Me; and yet you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”

And as Christians we may say to ourselves, how could they have missed it, it was so clear, yet many of the mistakes that they made, we continue as Christians, to make ourselves. The mistakes that they made in the Old Testament, in spite of God’s revelation, are put there for a reason, that we might learn from them.

That narrow gate and constricted path that Jesus speaks of (Matthew 7:13-14), has many what I call “off ramps” that lead us away from, rather than closer to, that which God would have us focus on. And there are many many “off ramps”, and all of them, without exception, focus on the things of this world, rather than what Jesus has already conquered and established in the Kingdom of God.

When we focus our words and thoughts on slander, conspiracies and questionable conjecture on worldly events, that takes our eyes off of He who God would have us focus on, who wins and who loses? But as Christians, we are smarter than Israel was, we don’t get taken in by that which surrounds us, do we? When we focus our faith and trust on earthly leaders and alliances, we don’t fall into the same traps that Israel did. No, we’re much smarter than that. Spoiler alert: no we are not.

And what have we done to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Do we really take to heart the whole counsel of God that is given to us in the New Testament on a particular topic or subject or do we just pick those portions that align with our worldly perspective of not offending anyone? We expound upon the Scripture where Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery and drop off the part where He told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Or we expound upon the Scripture where Jesus tells us “judge not, that we be not judged” and totally neglect the rest of the context of that subject about judging (Matthew 7:1-6). And you know, I am just barely scraping the top of the iceberg.

And heaven forbid that someone should actually note these misalignments of Scripture and call them into question. Just label that person as a “legalizer” and Bible thumper who obviously doesn’t love like we all should. Search the whole counsel of God, love does correct and love does judge, but not hypocritically. Big difference.

 And what bothers me the most is that there are many Christians who don’t see that “big difference”, not only do they not see it but they actually applaud those who expound the exact opposite, and by doing so, they sanction the one who actually voiced the objection. And once again, you know how much smarter we are than Israel was. 

The “gate” is small for a reason and the path is “restricted or narrow” for a reason. The maze of “off ramps” is big, stay focused.

Something to think about.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!



  1. Good morning, Bruce! I like that you mentioned that discerning and applying the Word takes time. Each time I read the Old or New Testament, I learn something new. The experience has been like an onion, layer by layer by layer 🙂

    And as I read your post, the narrow gate came to mind. Then you mentioned it! What also pops in my head is the part right after, where many will try to enter and will not be able to (Luke 13:24).

    So when I used to see Christians acting crazy online (which is part of the reason I left social media) I think to myself that that is unfortunate, but to be expected, because the Bible itself has spoken about this. It doesn’t surprise me.

    I like conspiracies, but more of the Bigfoot, MK Ultra kind… 😏 Hahaha I hope you have a good week!


    • Hi Yari, I use the onion layer by layer analogy quite often because most people can easily identify with it and it illustrates a Biblical truth on how we progressively learn. The problem being, most of us don’t realize just how big the onion is! I trust you have a blessed week too!

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  2. Amen, Bruce. It gets so under my skin that more pastors are not preaching to their congregants that they should be read the entirety of God’s Word. All 66 books count, and Christians need to be reading them.

    Thanks for the excellent post, Bruce.

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  3. “And heaven forbid that someone should actually note these misalignments of Scripture and call them into question. Just label that person as a “legalizer” and Bible thumper who obviously doesn’t love like we all should. Search the whole counsel of God, love does correct and love does judge, but not hypocritically. Big difference.”

    Whoah! Can I just say, you nailed it on this one.

    Not only do we label people as legalists unjustly at times, but what if they ARE being legalistic? Why is there no grace for them? In modern Christianity, I find there’s grace, grace, and more grace for every sin under the sun EXCEPT legalism. Where’s grace for the legalist? Why can’t the legalist also be shown grace and mercy while they slowly grow in freedom through Christ?


    • Hi Sara, Well, being legalistic is something to obviously guard against for obvious reasons (inferring that we can earn our salvation through perfectly keeping the Law) but identifying doctrinal untruths is not being legalistic, it is being obedient to God’s Word about defending the Gospel that we have been given, so there is a distinct difference. But I do hear what you are saying, I am sure that all of us have been legalistic at one time or another, probably way more than we realize and yes, if confessed, that also should be forgiven and I would agree with you about even overlooking it when the mature in Christ are dealing with those new in the faith. Which explains why we should be conversant with all of God’s Word, so that we are aware of the difference between being legalistic and defending the Gospel and how to deal with each accordingly. Thank you for taking the time to comment, always appreciated. God’s blessings on you and yours!

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  4. I believe there is a danger in studying every so-called “really good” Christian book more than we study God’s Word directly. I used to be guilty of this in the past. The consequence was, I had to unlearn an awful lot and start over. Great article! Blessings, Bruce!

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    • I identify with this, Cindy. I’ve learned so much through Christian books. They often become my “counselors” when I’m working through different things. But there definitely comes a time when I realize I’ve been relying on Christian writers to help me much more than I’ve been relying on God’s Word. I often take “book breaks” and only read my Bible for an extended period of time. I come out de-confused (LOL) and refreshed.

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