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.

Greatness Through Servanthood

Greatness Through Servanthood

Yet it shall not be so with you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.  (Matt 20:28)

The word ransom signifies a release from slavery or captivity brought about by the payment of a price.  Jesus willingly provided His own life as a ransom for us—in obedience to His Father’s plan to provide salvation to all mankind.

We have been released from slavery to sin.  We are free now to serve the Lord in holiness, humility and righteousness!

Living a life of true humility means that we direct all glory and praise to God.  We willingly give Him all of the credit for any good things that we may have accomplished in life.  We rejoice in His ways and His truths.  We are glad that in giving God all of the credit, He removes every opportunity for stumbling far from us. 

Truly, what do any of us have that we didn’t receive?  (1 Cor 4:6-7)  Everything that we have is a free gift—whether skills, pedigree, possessions, or wit. 

True greatness—eternal greatness—only comes through serving Christ and our Heavenly Father by the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Happily, we have free will so that we may make the choice to serve the Lord of Glory.  Hallelujah!