March 9th, 2013: The Twenty-Second Day of Lent

March 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.”

~Matthew 7.13~

This teaching of Christ should give us pause. It reminds me of the old saying, “All roads lead to Rome.” Which is fine, if you’re trying to get to Rome. But what if you’re going to someplace else, such as Jerusalem? It would take careful planning and constant attention to get to Jerusalem on a network of highways designed to steer you to Rome. If one did not exercise caution, she would find herself headed to Rome without even realizing that she had changed direction.

Make no mistake about it: being a Christian is hard. If you want your faith to be truly vital, if you want to get closer to God and participate in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth, you will find that the path you travel will not be easy. Unfortunately, there are many who seek easier lives for themselves, and they have incorporated Christian teachings into their searches or teaching on how to achieve ultimate success and comfort. Some of these people incorporate Christian truths into their special grab bag of teachings. Some of these people are ordained and have churches where they proclaim their messages; others write best-selling books. The path of ease will always be popular, even within Christian circles.

But we must enter through the narrow gate. A narrow gate doesn’t exactly indicate comfortable things for the path beyond, but it is our gate. The path leads to the Kingdom of Heaven, and that is enough for us. It is a difficult path, one that requires focus, effort, attention, and devotion. A couple of days ago, Dallas Willard tweeted: “To dribble a few verses or chapters of Scripture upon oneself through the week will not re-order one’s mind and spirit. One drop of water every five minutes will not get you a shower, no matter how long you keep it up.”

Christ calls us to be people of persistent prayer and intentional study. He challenges us to be humble people of forgiveness and action, trusting in the Father to meet our needs. In our contemporary culture, so many things fight for our attention; we have many more convenient ways to be distracted than Christ’s disciples did. Yet we must lay these distractions aside and remain disciplined. Lent is an appropriate time for us to take stock of where we are in this area. Have we allowed various things to crowd out time for prayer, study, worship, and productive friendship? If so, what?

Lord Christ, I confess that I have traveled the broad, easy path more than I have walked the straight and narrow. Please convict me of where I have left your ways, and help me to get back on your path. Amen. 

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