September 6th, 2019
Note: This devotional is a re-edit from the posting 6/9/18. This is more than just a copy of the original. There has been content added and editing applied to update the content.
Christians tend to talk a lot about paths, roads, and direction. Jesus made it clear that there is a road to life and many roads that converge on one destination; death.
The thing is, we can become diverted from the road to life and waste time, floundering in our own self pride and resistance to the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14 (CSB)
Jesus continues in the book of Matthew…
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.”
Matthew 7:15-18 (HCSB)
Much of what Jesus was saying here in these six verses has a lot to do with perspective.
If the decision between life and death were limited to those two distinct factors; the number of those who would choose to travel the life road, would make it a very heavily traveled thoroughfare. The tremendous number of footprints would wear the surface of that road, so that it would be obvious to even the casual observer the simplicity of this decision.
Only those were were literally hell-bent would choose death over life.
But this choice isn’t all that clear for those standing outside of grace.
We would think considering the fact that what secures eternal life, is so very simple, we couldn’t fathom another choice. It involves surrender of one’s life to Jesus Christ, believing that He came, suffered and died to absolve you of your sinful condition, and follow Him in love.
In essence, because we are saved by grace through faith, salvation is the result of surrender; giving up! We give up on our own ability to persevere in this world, allow Jesus to take the reigns, and instantly we are on the road to life!
In reality, that is it! Just as with anything else, making this commitment means that there are many things that follow to support this decision. But that is true of any commitment we make. If we want to be a great musician, the commitment to do that is just the beginning. If we wish to become a doctor, entering medical school isn’t the final effort before you are serving your future patients. In almost every endeavor the decision, marks the beginning but there is a lot more as you travel that path.
Just as a Christians journey isn’t over with salvation. We are rewarded with peace, joy and love as we grow in devotion to Jesus. But the enemy isn’t standing by doing nothing. The devil seeks to entice through the flesh and convinces the lost that if they go this life route, they are going to miss out on the fun, pleasures, and personal edification.
The thing that is different about this decision, is the fact that we actually make a choice of ‘death’ by not choosing life. The enemy doesn’t want people to know that, so he embellished his darkness in the most alluring taunts possible.
We are born into a sinful condition. Therefore, do nothing and you’re there; we all start out life on the road to destruction. Life requires a choice. Life requires a change of the human condition, that makes a person acceptable to God.
Did you think God looked favorably on your natural condition? Sorry not the way it plays.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23 (HCSB)
Not the ones that choose to enter into corrupt behavior, murder, theft, and lustful intent. No, all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Even the seemingly good person. This is because those who the world considers ‘good’ are good only by the standard they are contrast against.
If that standard is Genghis Khan, then yes that’s a bar that isn’t real difficult to measure up to. Being Good by our standards is not good; it is only better than the alternative.
So how do we get to ‘goodness’?
They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:24 (HCSB)
We become ‘justified’ by grace. Because of that grace we are redeemed through Jesus Christ. This brings us back to that decision to surrender, believing, accept that grace, following Jesus in love.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commands.”
John 14:15 (HCSB)
Jesus calls us to obey Him because of our love for him. This is where this narrowing of the road comes into play. You see, as the path to death encompasses everything outside the will of Christ, comparatively so, doing that which He calls us to is a much narrower path.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24 (NLT)
The world says, ‘do whatever you want’; that leads to death. Jesus says, ‘follow me’; and this is the path to life. Jesus says, “you must give up your own way“. He wants you to replace your way, with His way.
Which gets us back to the the narrow path issue we’ve been talking about. You must give up your own way, so that you can follow ‘The Way’. You must choose life, otherwise you choose death.
Now, obviously we’ve been focused on salvation and redemption for those who haven’t ‘committed’ to Christ. But this applies to the believer too.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word,, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 (HCSB)
Everyday, we should be asking ourselves ‘Have I given up my own way?’; ‘Am I following Christ Jesus?’. Are you demonstrating your love for Him by obeying His commands?
If you are and we do, then we will be more and more like Jesus every day. We’ll progress on that path to Life as we are intended to do so.
In His Grace,
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