The Narrow Way

Lessons Learned: The Narrow Way

Matthew 7:13-14

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Greetings and blessings to you all! Recently I had a conversation with a man that I have great deal of respect for and look up to. We somehow got on the topic of religion and spirituality. I have known this man to be an devout attendee of his church for quite a few years and he would rarely miss attending unless it was due to illness. I guess I always saw him as just a solid Christian. Maybe that was why I was so surprised when he mentioned in our conversation that Jesus did not die on the cross for us but for himself (only). We each have to be accountable to God for our own sins and deeds (a true fact). Yet to make matters even more interesting, I heard his wife state ‘who is to say that there is only one way to heaven or even that Christianity was the only way; that we need to be more tolerant and accepting of other faiths and beliefs.’

At this point, I inquired, where possible, about how they reached this conclusion without leading up to an argument because no point would have been served through arguing. No satisfactory answer was given other than these were the beliefs emphasized by their church. But I was bothered nonetheless. I knew what church they worshipped at and decided to visit the website. It was equally as interesting. One of the more interesting mission statements of the church declared that they did not believe they should focus as much on helping the poor and underprivileged. Their concern was with helping to educate them so they could feed themselves.

Now this was a mega-church that has a rather upscale following (i.e. it has been joked that the most inexpensive car in the parking lot might be a Buick or low end Cadillac). They take great pride that the congregation is upscale. The doctrine and teachings of this church are based on prosperity and healing the body yet even as I write this message there is an on-going search for a new pastor because the one that founded the church cannot carry on due to severe illness and has stepped down (with no successor).

I bring all this up for one simple reason. We must come to terms that being a church attendee does not make you a Christian any more than being in a garage make you a car. As true Christians, there are two facts we must continually focus on: 1) the absolute authority of God’s Word, and 2) the divinity of Jesus. In my conversation with the man and his wife, he felt that we had the ability to ‘pick and choose’ what was applicable to us in the Bible (and since the Bible was written by man we had quite a bit of leeway). Yet if the Bible is the absolute authority, then every promise, every scripture, every command has to be respected and followed. If you do not believe that the authority of scripture is absolute, without question and doubt, you are not ready to proclaim yourself a Christian. Secondly, if you cannot believe that Jesus is God who died on the cross for the sins of the world (that’s you and me), you are not ready to be called a Christian.

I remind everyone that we are not to argue the Bible, merely proclaim the good news. In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus read from the book of Isaiah these words:

The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me
  To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
  To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind,
  To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

 And then he sat down.

We, too, must share the Word with those willing to hear and let the Holy Spirit make any changes to that person. We preach and proclaim. That’s all!

So let us be mindful of the verse above. Narrow is the way that leads to Jesus. The narrow path we are called to follow will not be quickly or readily chosen by most. It will appear difficult and constrictive but that is only a perception and often a mistaken one. When we spend eternity with Jesus we will be free and filled with joy. Oft times, we follow the masses because there are just so many people going a certain way or doing certain things that we just want to blend in. I recent met an extraordinary woman who made a decision not to follow the same paths that her peers were taking…no drugs, no alcohol, no promiscuity. Did she stand out? Yes! Was she treated differently even poorly? Yes? Does she enjoy a close relationship with the Lord? YES! Does she regret her decision to take the ‘road less travelled’? NO! She feels hurt and pain just like anyone else but she had made up her mind to follow the Lord because the rewards she knows are hers will come to her later.

Choose this day if you are going to be Christian in word only or truly in deeds. Resist the pull of the popular philosophies of this world. We cannot afford to become complacent or ignorant to what the Word of God tell us we should be doing. The easy way is seldom the better way. Take a stand and choose the only way that leads to joy, peace and contentment. The broad gate that so many people choose to go through leads to pain, confusion and destruction. The narrow gate is the only one that leads to life, which is Jesus. If you don’t want to take my word for it, read it yourself. The Bible has all the answers. No pride, no arrogance, no political correctness and no shame – only truth!

As always, be blessed and be a blessing!

Ernest Marsh, Houston, Texas

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