Many times during the day I find myself thinking over the past, the present, and the future. As I think through what to do, and what road to walk down, I find myself evermore limited by the landscape of the changing economy, and culture of the world. Always looking for the right thing, always looking for the way to just one up — if you will.
I know that the problem of deciding how to walk down one’s own path, and what to do in their life to achieve their dreams, has been one throughout the ages. It is by no means something uncommon to the human experience.
I feel in the present world humanity abides in it is more important than ever to seek out others to connect with, seek counsel, and be willing to reform, and reinvent oneself; while, being true to the morality, and values one esteems.
Easier said than done. When society as a whole, lives in a scavenger mentality it is very difficult for people to easily open up their hearts to connect with others. With the absence of connection, the temptation is great to be whatever the world would find understandable in order to get in with them, whether or not it reflects who you are, and your character.
I don’t think it is because people are stingy, or afraid to connect per se. Rather, I think that we are far less fluent with artful, and meaningful connection than ever before. We are better now at knowing the words than knowing the meaning of them.
There is a passage in the scriptures that can serve as an allegory for this old problem.
Matthew 7:13-14, ESV
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
For those who do not frequently visit churches, this passage is usually referred to when someone is talking about salvation. That’s justifiable, yet to only refer to it in that context is to ignore all the other great things it can reference. One thing that is important to keep in mind about the one who said it; that being Jesus, is often when he spoke — he used parables that brought a framework to a wide variety of circumstances and contexts.
If you really think about it… doesn’t this passage really fit the way the people of the earth act when looking for meaning, pleasure, fulfillment, and any number of things we long for?
So many of us — myself included — feel the urge to grasp at whatever opportunity of hope and enhancement we can get only to find; however, it wasn’t at ALL what we were expecting. Now I am not saying you should just let life walk by you and if something just “HAPPENS” to knock on your door then you should act, and look into it. You certainly can live that will if you choose, but it doesn’t work out well.
I don’t believe that God simply drops things out of the sky to solve all of the deep problems of life, and of the heart, without us applying ourselves to his discipline, and loving counsel. I do believe that if we walk moment by moment with him in our hearts though, that he will reward the character he is so expertly crafting within us, and in this divine metamorphosis, we have a measure of credit in it — because we are walking with him, and taking his instruction into action.
The practice of walking with him within, moment by moment, even when it is painful, is what the narrow gate is. The decision to go with the masses and the way they go about fulfilling their hearts is the wide gate. I’m not merely talking about the way most people go about their spiritual lives, and days. I am talking about literal, real, and experiential life, with all of its nuances and dilemmas.
It seems like there is this subtle, and widespread idea that God only has spiritual goodness to give, and nothing else at all. It goes like this. Your car payment? Forget about it! He doesn’t care. Your life, your job, your mind, your health, and anything else? FORGET ABOUT IT! He is only interested in making sure you have spiritual pixies tickling your insides that apply only to his word, in such a way, that it isn’t applicable to your life. UM….
Yeah… I don’t think that is actually what Jesus is about. What’s the point of believing in him then? If that is the case, he is then only an impotent concept floating around in one’s brain useless for any good thing.
I feel that sad thing though is this perception that he only applies to the heart is more common than one would think. Not only this — but the idea that he is a wrathful monster at the ready, to destroy the soul of a person for the smallest infraction or offense of his will.
No wonder so many good people go through the wide gate. They are scared to DEATH of the God of LIFE! Even when the soul warns against going with the crowd, for one reason or another, we still often go with the group. Perhaps it’s not always because we are “sinners” and we don’t care. Maybe we feel as if there is no other way or any other reason to do something different. Maybe it’s because most people think that they somehow care more than Christ, and we are willing to sell our souls for the hope of a promise, even without any guarantee of that promise’s substance.
Sell our lives to just receive a promise? Even the premise of a promise? Ridiculous yes, yet sadly due to many factors, it is perceived to be reasonable, even stoic.
I would rather take the wager that God can do beyond what we can ask, or think is possible in blessing us. I would rather take the idea that it is at least possible that he gives real promises, and blessings of a “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over” before running out of the inner sanctuary of his presence.
Luke 6:38, NIV
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
You may have to squeeze through the narrow gate. There are no quick ways to walk through it and go down the path it puts you on, and yes — there are fewer people on it. The ones that are on it though are the faithful few. Those are the people you need. Not the many… just the good few.
You don’t have to run with the many down the gate of destruction. You can walk in the presence of God with the few. I pray that you can, and will, find the strength to peer into the peace that comes with it. Be blessed. =)