Narrow is the Gate

Narrow is the Gate

“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. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Mt 7:13-14)

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”  (Mt 22:14)

. . . strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”  (Act 14:22)

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  (Joh 15:18-20)

The term “narrow gate” conveys its meaning rather well.  A narrow gate allows the entry of fewer people at one time, than does a wide gate.  A narrow gate doesn’t allow a person who is heavily burdened with packages to get through very easily.

When Jesus said, “Narrow is the way which leads to life . . . “ He was pointing out that the Christian walk is not as easy as it may seem.  Jesus was warning people that following Him would lead to grief and to serious challenges of life. 

“Difficult” is from the Greek word thlibo, which means: “To press (as grapes), press hard upon; a compressed way; narrow straitened, contracted” way (New Testament Greek Lexicon, http://www.biblestudytools.com).

As Christians, we must continuously keep our eyes on the goal of spending eternity with our Savior, Jesus Christ.  In John 15:18-20, Jesus tells His followers that the world will hate them even as it hated Him.  And since Jesus was persecuted, we should expect the same treatment. 

These are tough realities and truths that Jesus was setting before everyone who chooses to follow Him.  However, no one will be able to say that they haven’t been told the entire truth about following Jesus. 

Jesus loves us and wants us to follow Him; and He pours out His love, mercy, and grace upon us to empower us to do just that.  We must remember to add our own willpower and determination to this endeavor by choosing continuously to persist in following Jesus Christ.  Let’s glorify the Lord throughout our lives.

Chosen and Precious

Chosen and Precious

Do you know that not only are you chosen by God, but that you are also precious to Him?  This passage of Scripture has much to teach us, but for today, I want to concentrate on how dearly loved and cherished each one of us is by God.

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  (1 Pet 2:3-5, emphasis added)

A portion of the New International Version of this passage reads, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him . . .”  (1 Pet 2:4, emphasis added)

The word precious means costly; priceless; exquisite; favorite; honored; and treasured.  These are the feelings that we humans feel for our very own children.  Yet God is telling us that He feels this way about each and every one of us!  Why else would He send His one and only Son to become our Savior and Redeemer?

Here are several verses of the Bible that echo the idea that God deeply loves each one of us:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (Joh 3:16, underscoring added)

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  (1 Joh 4:11, underscoring added)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  (Joh 15:9, underscoring added)

Each and every one of us may have been rejected by people at one time or another in our lives.  Some of us have lived with a sense of rejection hanging over us due to past life experiences which were evil.  But in Christ, we need to remember that we were personally selected by Him to receive His gift of salvation so that He might help us to come to know His perfect, unending and unconditional LOVE.  He never forgets about us; He has written us upon the palms of His hands.  Each one of us is treasured and honored by our loving God.

In Isaiah 49:15d-16a the Lord says:  Yet I will not forget you.  16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands. . .

Love was God’s reason for salvation and for all of the attendant blessings and scriptural promises that are bestowed upon us.  I believe that the apostle Paul echoes the heart of God when he says:

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men . . . (2 Cor 3:2 NASB)

We, individually, are indelibly written on the tablet of God’s heart never to be erased.  The Lord moves heaven and earth to bless us; to save, deliver, heal, and protect us; and to grow us in wisdom and spiritual maturity.  Entrust yourself to the incomparable love of God from this moment forward, O beloved child of the King of Kings!

What Do You Know?

What Do You Know?

Today, we’re considering what we can KNOW.

Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.  (John 9:31 NKJV)

Then he said, “The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.”  (Acts 22:14 NKJV)  – Ananias spoke this to Paul after he prayed for Paul to receive his sight.

… having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself … (Ephesians 1:9 NKJV)

We may claim these promises for ourselves.  God has:

  • Chosen us (Acts 22:14; 1 Peter 2:4) – We’re precious to Him.
  • Caused us to know His will (John 9:31; Acts 22:14; Ephesians 1:9) – God shares mysteries with us.
  • Made us know His voice (Proverbs 20:12; Acts 22:14; John 10:27; 18:37) – What an honor it is to know His voice!
  • Promised that we’ll see the Just One – Jesus (Acts 22:14; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 7:22; 8:35) – This is a glorious promise.

We belong to the Lord Jesus; we are set apart and made holy because of that fact.  We may trust Him to reveal His will to us in every circumstance; and we can accurately and clearly hear His voice, if we will train our ears to listen.  If what you “hear,” agrees with the Bible, you can be reassured that you’ve heard from God!

How do you train your ears to hear Him?  Read, meditate, and study the Bible, which is the Word of God.  The better that you know the Word, the easier it will be for you to hear His voice, because He will never contradict His Word. 

Rejoice in your sweet relationship with the God who is more than enough!  Hallelujah!