Saturday, March 28, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 81)

Jesus said, “Go in through the narrow gate, because the path leading to destruction is a broad one and has a wide gate, and there are many who go through it.”
— Matthew 7:13 (USC)
Commonality of purpose aligns us more than we imagine. Our human purpose is of sophistry when God’s purpose is goodness in everything we do. Our purpose aligns with our default and we act in all manner of idolatry, or our purpose is conformed to God by the transformation of the Spirit.
The latter has gone the narrow gate; few go that way.
The disciple’s journey is that of the narrow way. They cannot and will not displease their Lord. They understand that a willing obedience, without thought, is the best obedience. They mortify their will so as to succour God’s will through the Holy Spirit.
Is there a plainer way of saying this?
Because their life is no longer their own, because they have taken up their cross, the disciple is ready to bear their own passion. Their passion is their own God-appointed and God-anointed suffering. Suffering and passion are synonymous. Because they no longer think in terms of themselves as islands; they are individuals for God. They are beyond external peer pressures; or they need be.
As verse 13 follows the magnum opus of the Sermon in verse 12 — treat others as you would wish them to treat you — there is the imputation of a Kingdom mindset.
Most people do not treat others as they would wish to be treated. Just the same, most people — yes, even most Christians — do not enter through the narrow gate to journey in the narrow way. Some do, most don’t. Life must take us to a place where we are ready to give up our lives in order to save them.
It is rare that life does this. Rarer still is it that a person responds truly in bearing their cross. Still much rarer, again, is it that a person would mortify their flesh without the purging providence of God initiating such a passion.
Blessed are those who enter the narrow gate to go the narrow way, for they will embark on their passion as Jesus did. Conviction of heart will see them through their suffering.
Those who enter the narrow gate do so because they are convinced by the Spirit. They are blessed, for their faith comes from the urgency of obedience.
The narrow gate leads to the narrow way,
It’s the only way through God we stay,
So choose the hard way; the wisdom of grief,
And God in his grace will give you sure relief.
1.     There are times in all our lives when we have resisted entering the narrow gate. Recall one of these times. What were the consequences of missing God’s mark?
2.     What is the experience of entering into the narrow path? How are we ‘blessed’?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

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