What Does Strait And Narrow Really Mean? Part Four
by Curt Klingeman
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Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein (KJV).
It has been established that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, but by Him (see John 14:6). Jesus said if anyone wants to come after Him, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him (see Matthew 16:24). While we did bring some definition to this principle, it is time to see just how we do it. As believers, we need to move from concept to reality.
Following Jesus does not require brilliance; it requires love. Nonetheless, following Jesus is the most brilliant thing anyone can ever do. As we will see shortly, without love it is impossible to follow Him. Every godly principle filters through love. For example, “Faith works by love” (Galatians 5:6). That means if a person wants to walk in the fullness of faith, he has to start with love. Faith pleases God (see Hebrews11:6), and love desires to please Him. Even the fulfillment of the law is summed up this way: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (see Romans 13:9-10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). Remember, God is Love (see 1John 4:16), and because He loves us, He sent Jesus to save us.
Proverbs 4:18-27 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil (KJV). Keeping our eyes fixed on the strait and narrow, means keeping our eyes on Jesus. It is not a trite saying; it is our very life. How can anyone stay on the path, if he does not look where he goes? People have a tendency to go where they look. That means if we don’t stay focused on Jesus, we stray from the Way of Holiness. If our gaze is straight ahead of us, we will only consider heavenly things. By walking in love, the world will not be able to turn our heads.
Following Jesus expresses our love for Him. Love embraces denying our selves and taking up our cross. Read 1Corinthians 13:1-13, it shows us exactly what that looks like. Since God is Love, it also reveals that He was the First to deny Himself and take up His Cross. Scripture reveals He does not ask us to do anything He did not do Himself. He loved us first, before He asked us to love Him. Your ability to love God reveals that He first loved you. Even though He is the Almighty, He did not insist that you love Him. He denied Himself by giving you the choice. While loving God is a commandment, the commandment does not force anyone to obey! As much as it may hurt the Father, He gave everyone the decision to accept Him or reject Him. The potential hurt is obvious. The destruction of anyone’s soul is not even the last thing He wants to do. Perhaps the reason the Lord becomes angry with those who reject Him is that it forces Him to do what He doe not want to do. Especially, since He provided the Way for everyone to be saved. Even the Father endured the pain of the Cross by watching His Son die. His death means life to those who receive Him.
Jesus is our Ultimate Example of denying our self and picking up our cross. Because He loved the Father, He did as the Father asked of Him. Jesus fully embraced His will, which meant His suffering and death. How can anyone reject such Perfect Love? As we continue through the strait gate and on the narrow road, we will find that by walking in love, we will stay the course.
1Corinthians 13:1-13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (KJV).
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