Narrow leads to life
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
What is it about the narrow way that allows it to hide so well? What causes some to be able to draw it out from its seeker elusive, most brilliant hiding place but for the majority of people it won’t budge an inch?
Could it be that we are looking in the wrong direction? Where can I look to find this narrow way? How do I coax it out of hiding?
Matthew 7:3-5 Jesus asks, “why do you look at the speck that is in your brothers eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘let me take the speck out of your eye’, and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye.
We seem to be looking from the inside out. From this position we see so clearly when others make mistakes or when they might be doing something wrong. But to see ourselves and what we may be doing wrong is quite difficult. That’s not to say we think we are perfect, on the contrary, we may be first to admit we are flawed beings. It’s just our views, at the inside looking out angle, make it difficult to truly see ourselves currently. Even though our desire is to be non-judgmental, we could easily be coming across that way to others and not know it.
In order to truly see ourselves, we have a much better chance looking from the outside in. From this vantage point we see little of what flaws those around us may have, and those in which we do see, we are not as likely to point them out. Instead we empathize and communicate understanding, knowing we too are flawed. This vantage point allows us to see clearly our own flaws and opens the door to the opportunity for us to work on ourselves.
Luke 10:38-42 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
He didn’t seem to tell Martha that she was wrong in her desire to serve, just that her anxiousness caused her to get upset with Mary. She wanted Mary to be like herself, in effect to ease her own anxiety and work load that she put upon herself. Because Mary didn’t notice the stress and anxiousness she was feeling while trying to do what she felt was right, it made her angry. Mary on the other hand, oblivious to Martha’s frantic state, was doing what came natural to herself. Jesus came to their home and was speaking. She couldn’t let such an opportunity pass by. She sat down at His feet taking in His every word.
Two very different personalities, perspectives, expectations, and two very different ideas on what should be done with Jesus as guest in their home. One was set on serving, making everything perfect and comfortable for their guests and the other set on learning, taking in all she could from listening to Him teach.
Both sisters did what they felt was right, neither was completely wrong. Yet Martha believing her way was the only right way, and I’m sure most of society in that day would no doubt agree with her, decided to allow her emotions to feed into her self-pity until she couldn’t take it anymore. She then, in an effort to have Mary rebuked by Jesus Himself for leaving her to do all the work, went to Jesus about it.
Martha was right to want to serve and it seems that’s what came naturally to her when she had guests. She probably knew exactly what to do to make her guests feel right at home. The problem was in her assuming that Mary should think and be just like her. Because she thought in this way she felt entitled to her self-pity and anger toward Mary.
A mistake so many of us make almost daily. It’s easy to think everyone thinks, feels and acts the same way we do. And it causes so much confusion when it doesn’t work out that way. We get frustrated with those who don’t think like us, have the same work ethic, like the same things, have the same common sense, keep the same schedule, clean house the same, drive the same, believe the same, have similar goals, etc. Etc.
I believe Father God spoke to my Spirit saying, “From the beginning of time I have created every single human being so uniquely different. No two humans have ever been the same, each having something unique to offer the world. Now look at them all trying to fit themselves together into ten different categories.”
Isn’t that the truth? Doctors act like doctors, lawyers like lawyers, teachers like teachers, soccer mom’s like soccer mom’s, athlete’s like athlete’s, wealthy like wealthy, blue collar like blue collar, white collar like white collar, etc. Not that any group can’t socialize with the others, just in order to be accepted by a group, to be part of them, there is some kind of unspoken code of ethics the acceptable adhere to and live by. Even if we don’t agree with the “code” we tend to put on a good face in an effort to be accepted. This happens in every walk of life and at every age level too. We all learn how to pretend to be what we believe others want or expect us to be, so we can avoid rejection and fit in with everyone else.
We are busy trying to fit in while Father God is trying to show us how to stand out!
The trap we can often fall into as we are trying so hard to live up to the acceptable standard is becoming critical, gossipy, unaccepting, judgmental, harsh and rejecting of others. Especially with those who just might not make the cut. Or worse with those who might make the cut so much better than ourselves we risk loosing our status we worked so hard to achieve.
Ephesians 5:4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice 3. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
The truth is, so long as we are going through life trying to please ourselves and others we are walking the road in which the narrow way, the narrow gate remains hidden. Seeking our own desires to include being accepted by others, thus people pleasing can be a overwhelming, exhausting, extremely time consuming endeavor leaving little to no time for seeking God’s Kingdom and Righteousness. Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The inside looking out perspective runs a high risk of never finding the narrow way or the narrow gate Jesus spoke of.
We are to seek His way, His will, His knowledge, His purpose, His mercy, His salvation and understand that nothing we have done allows for us to be deserving of the grace He freely gives. Because of this we align our hearts to His Spirit ever praising and thankful.
Looking from the outside in, taking every opportunity to become more Christ-like by “dying to self” then becomes the beacon or call to the narrow way, the narrow gate, to come out of hiding and thus show itself to us, so we can then travel on it.
Ephesians 4:22-24 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to look of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Then from the outside looking in vantage point, we become for each other, only encouraging, uplifting, and kind. Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 5:19-21 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
If I am to find the narrow way, the narrow gate that Jesus speaks of and avoid the wide gate, the broad way, it seems I must stop looking from the inside out and start looking from the outside in.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
I’m going home
I’m going home
I will not worry
Whatever comes my way
I’m going home
When Jesus comes
Oh what a glorious day
I’m going home
And with each step
I’m closer to the Lord
I’m going home
For all my life
He’s been my shield and sword
I’m going home
To see the love
That lasts eternally
There is plenty of room
On this narrow road
Will you come home with me
Until next time, may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with all your heart.