The Discomforts and the Delights of the Narrow Gate—Part One

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many 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).

In my book, “The Weeping, the Window, the Way” (Chapter 7), I offer up an age-old yet alarmingly relevant maxim whereby the many COMFORTS we have been wildly blessed with have the potential to become “the broad road that can lead to destruction”.

To sharpen the point, my book targets “Christians living in a culture of comfort”. And, in particular, how many in and of the church can easily lose the benefits of unavoidable suffering (Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 1:6; James 1:2)—if they knowingly and/or unknowingly avoid DIScomfort of any sort.

“The narrow gate”, as originally described by Jesus, is is the only way to eternal life—in that it is through Him alone. Those who choose “the broad road” (seeking the approval of man rather than God) will find the way that leads to destruction, utlimately to eternal punishment and separation from God.

“The narrow gate” is also the refining, maturing, and redemptive choice of moving through (and not around) life’s many DISCOMFORTS in the most redemptive way possible—that is rarely pain-free (applying healing salt to an open wound stngs), but always purifying, and the only road to straight to peace, joy, and living purposeful life.

Our many, many comforts are a good thing, and most graciously provided by a Good God. However, if a GOOD thing is turned into an idol by making it the ONLY thing, if comfort becomes an END in itself rather a MEANS to glorifying God and blessing others, if demanding we be so comfy that we avoid the discomfort of any emotionally, physically, intellectually, or spiritually challenging issues…

THEN… we will not only usher in the ossification and compartmentalization of the HEART (our ability to discern truth from falsehood), the warring of our SPIRIT (our emotional well-being), and the meaninglessness of our LIFE (our each and every day), but we will become a part of the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION, to the increasing chaos of life all around us!

Please read, carefully consider, and share with a close friend, how Oswald Chambers put it:

“Everyone has to begin with this struggle for self (Luke 13:24)—and striving to enter in at the narrow gate is a picture of the struggle. Anything that does not enter in by the narrow gate, for example, our selfishness, our self-interest, our self-indulgence (our insistence upon avoiding discomforts of any kind), will end in destruction. The struggle to enter in, no matter with what is may be in connection, braces (strengthens) us morally.

Self-indulgence is a refusal to struggle, a refusal to make ourselves fit. We must be right ourselves before we can help others to be right. (“Being right” = being refined, having character, having right relationship with God, deep roots, a strong foundation, a time- and turmoil-tested faith, NOT an object blown about by every breeze, etc)

If you make a moral struggle and gain a moral victory, you will be of benefit to ALL you come across. Whereas if you do not struggle, then you will act as a moral pollution. Gain a moral victory in chastity or in your emotional life, and it may be known to no one but yourself, but you will be an untold benefit to everyone else. However, if you refuse to struggle then everyone else you come in contact with will be weakened.

Struggle to gain mastery over selfishness, and you will be a tremendous assistance to others; but if you don’t overcome the tendency to spiritual sluggishness and self-indulgence, you will be a hindrance to all around you. These things are intangible, but they are they there, and Jesus says to us, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate.’

You will never get through it alone. If you struggle to get through, others will be the stronger and better for knowing you.” (Place Help—emphasis, parenthesis added)

When we chose the narrow gate, we are a delight to God, and those He places in our life! We will live a fruitful life (Galatians 5:22-23), and be a huge blessing to others—by WHO we’ve have become, not by mustering up more and more WORKS to try and gain God’s approval.

Please give the narrow gate a chance—the difficult, not the easy, politically correct, or culturally sanitized way. Opportunities exist hundreds of times each day. If we choose to pass it by, then we should repent, thank God for forgiveness in Christ, dust ourselves off, and commit to trying again the next time, then God will provide us a chance to do so.

The next time we’re faced with a choice to do anything “the easy way” or “the hard way”, we should stop and think about it. Count to ten… Contact a trustworthy friend who really cares about your heart and character—and the fact that the world needs lots and lots more of the redemptive person who will emerge on the other side of the narrow gate!

See ya back at The Training Table very soon. And keep on running the good race!

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