Day 34 – 40 Days with Jesus Devotions
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14
Life is full of choices. Some choices are simple and relatively inconsequential. What to eat. What to wear. What to buy. Other choices are essential and life-changing. Our life’s work. Career choices. Who we will marry. Will we have children or not. There are also decisions that will determine whether we live or die. Life…Death… Serious decisions.
On July 20, 1993, while cutting down oaks in a Pennsylvania forest, Don Wyman got his leg pinned beneath a fallen tree. No one could hear his yells for help. After digging for more than an hour to try to free his bleeding, shattered leg, he hit stone. He would bleed to death unless he did something drastic.
Wyman made his decision. Using a wrench and the starter cord from his chain saw as a tourniquet, he cut off the flow of blood to his shin. Somehow he had the fortitude to make the choice to amputate his own leg below the knee with his pocket knife. He crawled to his vehicle and drove to a farmer’s home. The farmer got him the help that saved his life.
Life is full of tough choices. But the most critical of all our potential choices is our decision about Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Like Don Wyman, our choice of eternal destiny is very narrow. It’s either the easy, comfortable way which leads to destruction or the narrow, difficult way which leads to life.
Jesus has been moving toward this appeal from the beginning of this hillside teaching. He gives the choice now about becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom and inheriting eternal life or remaining a citizen of this fallen world and receiving damnation. His teachings have always been about application, not simply information.
When it comes to choosing our eternal destination, Jesus does not ask His followers to “make a few minor adjustments” or “try a little bit harder to be more religious.” He calls for a radical transformation.
The choice is between the one and the many—the one right and the many wrongs, the one true way and the many false ways. As John Stott points out, in Matthew 7:13-14 “Jesus cuts across our easy-going syncretism” (Christian Counter-Culture [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1978], p. 193). There are not many roads to heaven, but one. There are not many good religions, but only one. Man cannot come to God in anyof the ways that man himself devises, but only in the one way that God Himself has provided.
The contrast Jesus makes is not between religion and irreligion, or between the higher religions and the lower ones. It’s not a contrast between nice and upright people and vile and degraded ones. It is a contrast between divine righteousness and human righteousness, all of which is unrighteousness. It is a contrast between divine revelation and human religion, between divine truth and human falsehood, between trusting in God and trusting in self. It is the contrast between God’s grace and man’s works. All religions of the world are based on what humans can do to get right with their God. Except for Christianity. We may do what we thinkis right, but only what God requires is what matters.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”– Proverbs 14:12
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.”– Proverbs 12:15
“There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness.”
– Proverbs 30:12
So what is the narrow way? It’s definitely not living a good life or following a laundry list of restrictive rules and regulations. Jesus made that very clear in the previous section of this teaching. The narrow way is through Jesus Christ. This is what He says about the narrow way:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6
While the gate is narrow and unpopular, it is available to all who are willing to go through in God’s way, in repentance for their sins and in trust in Jesus Christ to save them. God’s grace is unlimited. It’s Jesus’ earnest desire “for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Every person who will come to Jesus Christ can come to Jesus Christ. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” Jesus assures us, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37, 40).
I pray you make the right choice.
Have a Great Day!