No misunderstanding, narrow path is right way
I get misunderstood all the time. I say one thing, and people hear something totally different. It all gets mixed up.
I was reading the Letter to the Galatians in the New Testament and can see Paul often had the same problem. It starts in chapter three where it appears as though some of the Galatians had been mixed up and believed they needed to fall under the law. He writes about the freedom we have in Christ and how we are not saved by works, but by grace.
In the fifth and sixth chapter Paul shifts gears a bit. As though the group requiring everyone follow the strict law wasn’t enough trouble, they had a group who had taken the freedom we have in grace and used it as a license to gratify the sins of the flesh. You talk about a mess: on one hand you have a group of people who are saying Christians have to follow all the Laws of Moses, and on the other hand there is a group who thinks if one is in Christ then we can live life without restraint and satisfy even the darkest of our fleshly desires.
But Paul says: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh,” (Galatians 5:16). He goes on from there defining what the fleshly desires are and what the fruit of the Spirit is.
I believe we are at a time we get things a little misunderstood today, much like the Galatians did. We often want God’s word to conform to what we want and how we see things; but if we are living by the Spirit, then we will conform ourselves to the Spirit.
Jesus said: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it,” (Matthew 7:13-14).
You see, that wide gate and broad road which leads to destruction has plenty of room. You can take all your baggage with you. Those fleshly desires we want to hold on to will fit down that road. We don’t have to get rid of anything. But if we want to go through that narrow gate, we must let loose of our fleshly desires to fit.
It’s really what’s best for us. God is not a “kill-joy.” What he has for us is so much better than what we believe is good for us. We just need to humble ourselves before him and allow his Holy Spirit to fill us and the joy will so abound in our lives we will never look back.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18,19).
Lt. Mark Cyr is pastor of The Salvation Army, 661 Colorado St. Carson City, NV 89701. For information, go to carsoncitysalarmy.org.