Thursday, August 5, 2010

Strait Gate and Narrow Way


Two girls who were in my Sunday School class a few years ago have chosen to follow the world. Another appears to be headed that way, giving as her reason for doing something only “I really want to.”

It is heart breaking, even though others are walking the narrow way with Christ to that strait gate. Just as the shepherd left ninety and nine to go look for the one sheep, we pray for these we love so much. We pray they will continue in the way, the truth and the life. We’ve taught them, from His word.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 KJV)

Most who say “… straight and narrow …” are thinking of this verse, and thinking that of a straight path. It isn’t. The narrow way winds through life and comes upon many junctions. Each of those junctions requires a decision. These girls have made one upon their path and have taken a broad way. Fortunately, there will be other junctions in their lives that could lead them back to that narrow way. At that next junction, the choice will be theirs, again, to enter the strait gate.

Strait is not straight. The first is restrictive, confining, and as a plural, to be in a difficult position. Such is the way of the Lord. There are reasons to follow the narrow way to the strait gate – none of them track back to “I really want to.” The will of the Lord comes first, and that will is discussed over centuries in His word, as well as studied, argued, ignored, rejected and all sort of things mankind can come up with to do to it in centuries subsequent to its writing.

The narrow way and strait gate require commitment. It is not easy and at times it feels very confining when God’s will does not match what we want to do. Every one has been there. Although it sounds a bit as a tongue twister, I love the way Paul put it:

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (Romans 7:15 KJV)

Even for those who have Christ in their hearts and minds, we don’t always do what we should, and end up doing what we know we shouldn’t. We were never promised it would be easy, we were just promised that Christ would never leave us. In fact, we were told to take on new burdens:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)

I will not cease praying for these daughters of the king who have laid down their crowns. They will not find comfort (we know that) until they recall their commitment as a child of God. I do fear for the consequences of their lifestyles. Some of their decisions have lifetime repercussions they cannot see while they look solely for the now and the strongly felt “I really want to.”

No matter how strongly any of us feel about these straying sheep, we cannot carry them home. Nor can we walk very far with them without leaving that narrow path ourselves. We can send our prayers, and meet them at the next junction with love, asking them to join us again.

The choice is theirs. May they make it while it while they are able.

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (Luke 13:24 KJV)

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