“Go in through the narrow gate because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it. But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it.” (Matthew 7:13 & 14).
As I was driving home this afternoon I could not help but wonder, “How does the narrow path affect each of us?”
“Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Be firm in your faith and resist him, because you know that your fellow believers in all the world are going through the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8 & 9).
Do we all endure the same degree of physical or emotional pain or does it come in different levels based on where we are on our walk? I am reminded of THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS by John Bunyan. I see our walk on the path of life as the journey of Christian in the book; how he came upon great tribulation and trials on his way to the Celestial City. I am reminded how he doubted our Father when he had to cross the river to get to the city. I often times relate to Christian when I allow disbelief, stress, and worry to get the best of me. I permit the devil to capture my mind and fill it with sinful thoughts; terrible thoughts of misgivings which are hurtful to my Father and to Christ. Perhaps I have even entertained thoughts of abandonment adorned with a feeling of resentment.
“But to keep me from being puffed up with pride because of the many wonderful things I saw, I was given a painful physical ailment, which acts as satan’s messenger to beat me and keep me from being proud.” (2 Corinthians 12:7).
God gives us tribulations to keep us level headed. When I look around at some people today I can understand why. There are many who have been blessed with such riches yet they believe they have done this all themselves and fail to give God the glory. There is nothing we receive that is not from our Father. This next part of Paul’s message I really like. It says:
“Three times I prayed to the Lord about this [painful physical ailment] and asked him to take it away. But his answer was: ‘My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.’ I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me. I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).
Wow! For when I am weak, then I am strong. What a beautiful message! I suppose it is sort of on the lines of, “That which does not destroy us makes us stronger.” To God be the glory!
Do you ever feel bound and gagged by the world; bruised and beaten down by the people and/or situations of life? Every time someone or something begins to get me down I find myself saying, “This is only life. It is not eternity.” And instead of turning to myself to control the situation or to “self help” books and/or videos for guidance, I fix my eyes toward Christ.
“You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on His throne at the right side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth.” (Colossians 3:1 & 2.)
“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to Him and is perfect.” (Romans 12:2.)
I pray that you are doing well, my friend. And, as always, I love you.
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Great article, my sister. This has blessed me. I have been beaten and battered. Bruised and scarred. But it is for the glory of God. I am so thankful for the humiliation the Lord allows me to face. It is to easy to become prideful. Just as easy to walk that wide path. I pray that Lord keeps us all on the straight and narrow path that leads to the glorious ever-after with Our Father. God bless. In Christ, Christian