Posts Tagged With: Christ Jesus

Follow the Narrow Way, Your life depends on it!

I was listening to the Sermon on the Mount on my smartphone’s Bible app as I was cleaning the kitchen the other day. My wife was in the other room and I kept saying to her, “Catherine, he sounds serious… Catherine, he’s not kidding”.

This morning I am wide awake at 1:55 with Jesus words echoing in my ear, “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.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)

Jesus GateOf course it must be stated right from the start that Jesus himself is the narrow gate. He says:

“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.” (John 10:9 NLT)

Relationship and fellowship with him is to follow the narrow way.

Jesus has been so kind and compassionate to me. I think some of the reason I often avoid listening to him and seeking out what he has to say to me daily is because I think he is going to come down hard on me.

He never does. It seems that his aim is to kill my sin with his kindness and turn me from my self-destructive sin. (Is there a sin that isn’t self-destructive?)

I just looked up and read this from Romans 2:

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. 9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.”

The fact is, I want to walk the narrow way that leads to life. Fact is, I don’t want to store up judgement by refusing to repent. I want to stop all the ways I live for myself and wickedness and “give Jesus a try”. I don’t want any vice to keep me from experiencing the life of Jesus to the full. I want to be a good friend to Jesus.

I don’t doubt for a moment that deep down you also want to respond to Jesus in this way. I have no doubt that you want to experience for yourself the abundant life Jesus said he came to bring to you:

“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10 NIV)

Are you experiencing a rich and satisfying life?

As I ponder this question for myself I am amazed to be able to say, yes. In spite of myself I actually am experiencing an abundant life. Crazy huh?

It may seem like we don’t have too many real live examples of someone experiencing the abundant life, but I think that is because we are always looking for examples of someone who follows Jesus perfectly. I know that I follow Jesus. A cursory glance over my blog posts will reveal that I don’t do this perfectly and often times there are still foxes on the loose in the vineyard (to borrow a biblical metaphor).

We often wait till someone is dead to honor the memory of their life because the living still have time to disappoint us and leave us with egg on our face as they have been known to do (It’s happened to me so many times!).

You Are A Role Model

Even though you or I may not be bold enough to say like Paul, “follow me as I follow Christ”, we are still ALL role models for someone. We like to think we aren’t or we may even blatantly say as some sports figures do, “I never set out to be a role model.” We pretend we aren’t because we love to live for ourselves and seek our own pleasure. (Jesus brother James writes that this makes us adulterous people – see James 4).

If we are looking for perfect examples to follow, look no farther than Christ. He followed his father beautifully. He modeled what a follower looks like with a kind of trust that led him to do only what the Father does and speak only what the Father speaks. He followed His loving Papa all the way to the cross. He knew his Father deeply loved him. He was secure and grounded in that love and knew that his Sovereign loving Papa was leading him every day into what would be the most joyful ending to the story. Jesus didn’t have a five-year plan, he had a “what’s next Papa?” plan. We can too.

Someone told me yesterday that there hasn’t been anyone who has done a pure deed with the purest of motives besides Jesus. That touched my heart to hear that. My Savior and your Savior, has the purest of motives in his dealings with you and I.

The Narrow Way

theWaySo, back to talking about the narrow way.

For whatever reason this quote from the Matrix comes to mind. Morpheus tells Neo, “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

Did you know that Christians were first called “followers of the Way”? This, no doubt, was a reference to Jesus who called himself the Way.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Yes the way is narrow. Jesus is it. The only way. There is no other way to the Father. So rest assured if you have received and are trusting Jesus you are on the narrow way. But are you walking in the way? Are you walking the path of Jesus that leads to you experiencing a rich and satisfying life?

Walking the path is going to look different for every one of us. What does “walking the path” look like for you? I can’t tell you. You have to ask the One who is the path and who destined a specific path for you.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2 NLT)

What good things has God planned for you? The question is, will you take the time to seek the One who holds the answers? He will never force the way upon you. You will never just stumble upon it but must do your part. We have a role in this. Paul writes in Philipians 3:12:

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

I am reminded that the Christian life, being a follower of the Way, has much to do with maintaining a clean conscience before God. This means we “get to” repent and turn from sin every time it is brought to our awareness. This is how we stay on course and remain in fellowship with the Way.

The still small voice of God is here right now. He is speaking to your heart in this very moment. Are you listening? The stakes couldn’t be higher. Your life is at stake.

God rewards those who diligently seek him. Won’t you join me in submitting to Jesus today? Cave to his kindness and just let him love you. Repent and turn from your sin so you can enter his loving kingdom and come under his protection and experience his wonderful guidance along the narrow path to true and abundant life!

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Categories: faith adventure, Repentance | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Knowing (a movie)

UnknownI just watched an end-of-the-world movie for the second time called “Knowing”. It really made me think. I mean, I grew up reading the bible a great deal and hearing every Sunday about God. So much so that I was numbed into complacency. I thought I knew God but in reality I only knew a thing or two about God. I had reduced God into a comfortable safe little box that I could somehow manage. How wrong I was!

Imagine being one of those Israelites seeing the actual blazing inferno of the Presence of God descend and engulf Mount Sinai. Or imagine being one of those saints who actually met an angel. Every instance of someone meeting an angel in Scripture leaves someone terribly frightened and sobered. I mean, the angel’s first words always have to be, “do not be afraid.” Just imagine meeting a terrible, fearsome, glorious, powerful being that frightens you so terribly you can’t help but fall to your face. Imagine actually seeing what Ezekiel saw as recorded in the beginning (and throughout) the book of Ezekiel! I kind of think that we really don’t believe it when we read it, ya know? We don’t “place ourselves there” when we read the Word. Some of us never even read the Word of God and have no idea what I’m talking about. Most of us no longer wonder at the mystery of it all. We have some sort of comfortable notion of who God is and have spent our lives reducing him to a warm fuzzy

Well, this movie “Knowing” (with Nicholas Cage) did a little something to snap me out of my comfortable and crazy ability to reduce the awesome otherness of God (df. of “Holy”) to little more than a children’s Sunday school story. The movie actually visually interpreted Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel chapter 1. It also portrayed these powerful and mysterious beings (angels) that could just as easily be confused for aliens. Isn’t that exactly what they are?

How it ended was amazing. The movie brought biblical eschatology (the study and theology of end time events) out of the hypothetical realm into the, “O my God, this is for real!” realm. It had me asking questions like, “Could the rapture be like this?” and reminded me of another sobering Scripture, “Many are called but few are chosen.”

Imagine one day having all your comfortable notions about God ripped away from you. You’re left standing naked before this awesome and even more terrifying than an angel God.

The Bible tells us that only those who know God will be saved. Only those who hear and answer his call. I am shaking in my boots realizing that up till now I have been pretty damn lazy in regards to knowing God. I have not pursued this with all my heart! I have been apathetic and lazy.

Here is an encouragement from Scripture:

2 Peter 1:3-11

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I am truly sobered by the Scriptures. My response is this: keep God’s Word in front of your face until it changes you. In that passage Peter talks about participating in the Divine nature. One thing that the movie doesn’t really get into is that God is a person, and that God is love. Unless we are participating in that nature of Love, we cannot and must not delude ourselves into thinking we “know God”.

So let’s make a practice of those thing Peter mentions and connect to God’s love.  Scripture tells us that we can never be seperated from God’s love in Romans 8:

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God… but are we connecting to his love in the first place?

I am going to end with a prayer:

God, I know I’ve been avoiding you at all costs, sabotaging myself to keep me away from you. I’ve been a great fool. I step back into the spotlight of your love and trust that your love has something to say in all of my confusion, pain, and sinfulness. Please forgive me and help me to respect the “otherness” and the mystery of you God, while at the same time help me to realize that you are a Person and you are love and nothing can keep me away from that. Help me to connect to your love, and to love you in return, and to love the ones you love.

Categories: Apocalypse, movie | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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