The Straight And Narrow Gate. 09/21/2014 (Evening thought)

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

This passage of scripture brings to our attention the fact that there are only to ways for us to choose from, that will inevitably determine our eternal destiny. The broad way is the path which is chosen by the majority, for it does not involve any sacrifice of self, nor any renouncing of sin, and therefore is paved with satan's promises of success in this life alone. The broad way allows a person to do whatsoever they please, without any reference to the fact that a day of reckoning is fast approaching, and so the prominent motif that is espoused in the broad way is that anything goes.

The straight and narrow gate on the other hand requires self-denial, service, and a daily taking up of one's cross to follow Jesus in the path of righteousness. Many of us have accepted Christianity without fully understanding that there are laws and instructions which govern God's kingdom, and therefore we are not at liberty to do whatsoever we think is right, but are rather under sacred obligation to live by the word of God alone. This fundamental fact about the straight and narrow way is what Christ sought to set before the multitudes when He spoke some of the most solemn truths in their hearing. Let's read:

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Some of us may try to have it both ways, by endeavoring to focus our attention on sinful pleasures, or earthly ambitions, and eternal realities at the same time, but this cannot be accomplished, for one or the other will ultimately absorb all of our attention and energies, hence the reason why Christ stated that we cannot serve God and mammon. The rich young ruler who approached Christ with the all-important question ,"What must I do to be saved", had desired the heavenly treasure, but he also wanted to retain his riches and worldly ambitions, and so in his quest for salvation, he hoped to be presented with a blend that would accommodate the two concepts. Thus when he was given a choice for either salvation or earthly ambition, he was greatly disappointed to learn that no such combination exists. Let's read:

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

The Christian's life is not one that relinquishes temporal duties and obligations, neither does it make us unprofitable servants as far as earthly accomplishments are concerned. What it does is to strike the correct balance in our thinking, by having Christ first in everything and letting every other concern and ambition fall in their rightful place under God. When this fine balance of priorities is accomplished, then the self-denial and faithful adherence to every word and instruction of God, becomes the theme of our lives, and thus we are enabled to live as productive citizens of earth, while at the same time traveling the straight and narrow pathway to heaven.

In our day we need to be careful of having our gaze be focused on earthly pleasures and ambitions, together with the erroneous theory that we can do whatever we please and enter heaven, once we believe in Jesus. Believing is a verb, a word which involves proactive steps towards making what we believe a reality, and so it is of critical importance, that in all of our decisions and aspirations, to have the truths of God's word ever before our faces, so that our lives may be directed by a "Thus saith The Lord" in all things. We therefore end with a passage of scripture which encourages us to choose wisely as we contemplate the sobering realities of eternity, for our actions and decisions will ultimately be molded by what we believe and practice. Let's read:

27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me" ...... 29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

May God add His blessing to the study and doing of His word. "Good night" and God bless!