I often want everything to come easily and simply. But I don’t believe that we learn to love unselfishly or give generously or create authentically or worship passionately by having an easy life. I believe that it’s often the sacrifices we make or the hardships we face that draw out these things.
On Sunday, our Pastor at church spoke about a parable Jesus told. He spoke of a wide gate and a broad road – one that looks fun and is easy to drift onto – and of a narrow gate and path. This is a picture of the story:
(Found via Google Images)
The Pastor suggested that the narrow gate and path is a way we have to choose to go onto. It is not as easy, but it is worth it, and it leads to life!
I think that we are meant to walk a narrow path – like Jesus did – one with challenges and one on which we have to give things up. In Hinds’ Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard writes allegorically about the Christian life, and describes it in just this way – a path on which there are many pitfalls and difficulties – but which is all about learning to live a life of love.
The Message version of the Matthew 7 passage says this:
13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
Some of my readers are Christians, some are not, but I feel this story is an important one for everyone. What do you think a successful life looks like? How do you think it is achieved? At the end of your life, what do you want people to say about you?
(If you want to choose the ‘narrow path’, and don’t feel like you have yet, the best thing to do is to say a simple prayer to Jesus, and to talk to someone you know who has been a Christian a while.)