13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. 14 How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 CSB)
As both an adventure bike rider and a mountain bike rider I have gotten to experience some wonderful rides. Many that started out looking glum because the path was hard and narrow. However, when I persevered and wound my way down the narrow path so many times it opened up to beautiful places.
Our path in life is often fraught with the decision to take the narrow (harder) path rather than the broad (easy) path. True more so in our faith life as we know that following Christ means taking up our cross. This is the narrow path that few find.
Taking the narrow harder path in our faith life opens to … heaven.
20 Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28 NIV)
There are really only two things we can do in this life; serve ourselves or serve others. Life is really that simple. Every act boils down to this very basic principle.
Now, the complexity that comes into this is the dance we do every day balancing serving ourselves and serving others. The subtlety of balancing our jobs, families and other commitments.
The question we must ask ourselves in this lifetime of service is do we first serve God? But, you said we either serve ourselves or others!? Yes I did, because in our service to this world; working for our own self intrest or the interest of others, our motives comes into play. And really there are only two motives; to do what we do for God or for ourselves. Those who do not know God can only serve themselves, even when they serve others. When we know God then our motives “should” change and all that we do we should do “In and Through Christ”.
This requires a bit of soul searching….
5 …“Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. 6 “He is not here, but he has risen! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’?” (Luke 24:5-7 CSB)
Do you ever consider why we tend to look for the opposite of what we truly need. We look to want and not to need. We seek the next best and disregard the best we have.
Christ had risen but he was being sought in human terms; expectations had be crushed and they expected to find him laying in a tomb.
But this was not the case, and they knew he had told them so.
Grief became joy as they realized that all he had said was true and life would never be the same.
And once we understand and believe, life should never be the same.
5 Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you. (Hebrews 13:5 CSB)
Satisfaction can be an elusive creature. We are always looking for the next thing. Whether that be experiences, things or advancement we are rarely content with where we are.
As I have grown older that has become easier, but it still does not come easy. The world wires us that way. But God wired us a different way, and life is about understanding and accepting His wiring over the worlds wiring.
The beauty is that even through all of our striving, God is there with us and will never abandon us.
3 You will keep the mind that is dependent on you
in perfect peace,
for it is trusting in you. (Isaiah 26:3 CSB)
Perfect peace. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it. But it is not. If we can keep our minds focused and dependent upon God he will provide a peace even in troubled times.
Too often I find people who are content in their misery. I do not understand this. Maybe it is because they have deceived themselves into thinking that this is the best they can hope for. Maybe they are trying to fulfill the old idea of misery loving company.
We all have our down days. But if we just refocus on God it is amazing how quickly our negative mind begins to shift to better things. Often without even realizing it our mood lifts and we begin to feel hopeful.
We move toward perfect peace.
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, (1 Peter 5:6 CSB)
”At the proper time.”
Maybe your time has not yet come. Maybe God is waiting for you to learn one more lesson. Maybe God’s timing is just better than ours.
We all want our time to come … now. We do not want to wait. We have been taught that all we want should be ours…now.
But God does not work like that. His plan is seen without a timeline. Today and tomorrow are now for Him. Thus, he is working every moment we experience as time to a specific end that is now for Him.
Maybe he has a clearer picture of what we really need and what the proper “time” is for us.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts before him.
God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8 CSB)
Trust can be difficult. Especially in times where it seems we can trust no one and nothing. Times when everything seems to be against us.
But situations are rarely that bleak. Often we make them far worse than they are. We are being given an opportunity to trust, but our faith is weak.
At these times we must, as the scripture notes, pour out our hearts before God. Call on him like a child calls out in the dark of night for a parent. Knowing that He will come to us and sooth our hearts and minds.
He will give us reasons to trust.