Faith
Wednesday November 30, 2007
Hartsville News Journal
Page 2C
FAITH COMMENTARY
"  The Straight and Narrow"

Since you were a small child, you’ve heard the expression, straight and narrow used. It’s been explained to you that it means the road to hell is wide (easy to travel) and the road to heaven is narrow (extra effort required). You begin to receive clarity in Isaiah 40:3 KJV where God gives you this prophecy:

   The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

This prophecy steers you straight as the straight and narrow is likened to a desert highway that most people refuse to travel. They choose the wide road, the one that’s full of shortcuts; the one that will take you to a place that you don’t want to be. You may ask:

(1) Are special skills required for me to travel this straight and narrow course?

(2) What happens when trying does not seem to be enough as there are times when I try and still fall short?

(3) There are times when it seems more difficult for me than it is for others. Why is this; I’m really trying to stay the course?

In response to your first question, are special skills required? Traveling the straight and narrow requires that you use all your skills. Most of us want to go to heaven and it’s important, when traveling this road, that you recognize both God’s Involvement and yours. You begin to observe the importance of this involvement as you travel to Mark 10:25 KJV where Mark brings the “eye in the needle” verse to your attention.

      It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Do you recall what the requirements were for a caravan to enter the gates after the sun had set? For security reasons the gates were closed and locked at sunset and there was a needle gate that had to be used by caravans when they arrived after dark. First the camel was forced to kneel down in front of this small gate. Next its cargo was removed and the camel had to crawl through the needle. This was the only way that caravans were allowed to enter after the sun had set.

Security is also important to God as He attempts to make this simple point to you: Your cargo (riches), if consisting of ill gotten gains, must be removed before you can enter heaven’s gate. Being rich is no sin as wealth obtained by honest means is always blessed by God. Receiving God’s blessings assures you that you’re on the straight and narrow.

Repentance enters into the equation because God will remove your ill gotten gains. He forgives you the moment you make amends and repent. You might say: the moment you kneel before the needle gate!

 

 

 


 

It’s time to address your question about falling short when you’ve tried your best. Falling short is a reason to feel disappointed but you should never consider it a disaster. Through

the prophet Isaiah, God addresses your concerns. Isaiah 42:16 KJV reads:

    And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and

crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

God does not forsake you; He intercedes because He knows what you’re capable of doing. God’s word informs you that many are slumbered as He has blinded them to His truth as we observe in Romans 11:8 KJV:

    (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

God will never leave you as He lights your way which enables you walk the straight and narrow. Pay attention to Isaiah 45:2-3 KJV where God assures you of His determination to help:

    [2] I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

    [3] And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

You see, God is aware that you’re trying which is all it takes for Him to join your effort. Your job is the “trying part” and His is removing the obstacles from you path; He’s very good at doing that.

Your last question concerning the “degree of difficulty” is also a good one. Staying the course may appear easier for others than it does for you but you must remember: God is fair; He doesn’t expect more from you than you’re able to do yet He is looking for your best effort as you attempt to stay the course.

You can now observe how Christ addresses your concerns about trying and falling short. You’re somebody and doing nothing is not a consideration for you. Christ is very direct when He tells you how He deals with those who give up and do nothing. In Rev. 3:15-16 KJV, He shares His views with you:

    [15] I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

    [16] So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

It’s a good idea to steer away from this group! Here Christ has described that “doing nothing” is the absolute worst choice you can make. Christ will never have the opportunity to spue you out of His mouth; you’ll do something, even if it’s wrong. Your effort is all He’s looking for. If your effort pleases God, shouldn’t you be satisfied too.

It’s time for you to examine the two paths that are available to you. Christ describes them both along with the consequences you face for either choice. Matthew 7:13 KJV is where you learn about both the wide and narrow paths and the gates they lead to:  

   Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Simply stated, you do not have to follow the crowd. Christ has informed you that many are

choosing the wide gate, the one that leads you to destruction. He stands ready to assist you and your effort to enter the straight gate.

Matthew 7:14 KJV is where Christ concludes describing the straight and narrow:

   Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Christ has found another way to encourage you to steer the narrow path, the path that leads to the straight gate.

His warning and His Truth can be understood by all of us:

He tells you that there are only a few that will make it, only a few that will find the straight and narrow path to His Gate.

Do you hear the Truth that God’s Word is describing to you?

You’re in charge and only you can make the bold decision to travel the straight and narrow as you face this one last question: Will you?

-----

Pastor Billy Johnson can be reached by email at billy@lakeshorebible.info or viewed online at www.lakeshorebible.com