For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:14)
Should God spare my life and give me the opportunity I would love to write out my spiritual journey as fully as I can more as a testament to the greatness of God rather than an ego-fest of how I’ve got close to Him. It is amazing to recall some of the key episodes that have brought me to this place and in all of this as so many things have been questioned and reinforced and changed His faithfulness and grace to me has only grown.
I find the concept of the narrow gate and hard way still difficult to swallow. What makes it even worse is how few people are actually finding it. I was reminded of it when I came across this cool song on the subject by Jon Gibson. The way itself is not difficult to work out because this is what Jesus has been talking about since He started teaching this sermon. Poor in spirit? Merciful? Pure in heart? Loving your enemies? Secret devotional life? Seeking first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness? Not worrying about basic necessities? Not being judgemental? Taking the log before sorting the mite? Living one of those things is challenging, living several of these is a stretch – the whole package, and the others as well is just crazy to expect from people. Talk about hard – hard doesn’t cover it.
Not only that but there is the issue of how much this will cost us in this life? Rejection, hatred, persecution, misunderstanding, and that’s just a part of the bargain. Gaining new desires from that which satisfies the self to that which satisfies God is a hard process and doing that in the light of an expression of success which doesn’t fit those around us also makes it the more difficult on the surface. I find it involves hard decisions not just in the day to day issues of temptation, but the larger scheme of things like commitment to lifestyle choices, relationships, connections and the like. This can sometimes call for traumatic changes in life that affect things at a deep level, then the question always emerges, what is at stake?
It is not a joyless task and it is character defining that involves a greater appreciation for joy in the truest sense of the word. It also allows you to learn contentment more and more and celebrate pictures of God’s grace wherever they shine from whatever weird angles. I am really glad for the people I’ve come across on the journey who have been good indicators of where I am and where I should go.
I realise above all, though, that it is the Good Shepherd leading me to learn a life of rhythm – rest, recuperation, walking and disciplining towards the feast ahead. In His wisdom, He does what it takes to ensure that all His flock ever need is Him. He does what it takes to show that all the flock could ever want is Him. So even in the hard times, He knows best and He becomes more and more all that I ever need.
For His Name's Sake