Why do people strive to go after short cuts?
The Narrow Way is the way to salvation and life. The Narrow Way is an ever narrowing way that gets narrower and narrower as we go. It’s a path not for wussies. It’s a path not for the faint hearted. It’s a path for slaves, dedicated to the service of Christ and Christ alone.
However, the ever Narrowing Way is riddled with escape hatches placed there for those who are not truly saved. You see, only the truly saved will last the whole way. Those who are pseudo Christians will only last while the going’s good. Then as the path gets narrower, the pseudo Christian starts feeling the stress and strain. A clump of coal feels no pain while it sits undisturbed. But when the forces of nature with its unrelenting pressure start to squeeze and compact that lump of coal, that’s when the lump feels the pressure. That’s when it wishes it could abort and return to its former life. But alas, the clump of coal has a destiny, and that destiny will see it through to its glorious end as a diamond.
In the same way, the Christian has a similar destiny. God sees a diamond in him. But in order to realize this destiny, God must squeeze and crush the Christian until the work is done.
If we persevere to the end, through submission, through surrenderedness, through dependance upon the Holy Spirit, we shall be saved. The kingdom of God has no place for the proud. In order for you or I to be saved, we must be so only through the work of Christ on the cross that continues in us until THAT DAY. This ever narrowing way squeezes unto the mold of Christ alone. We cannot enter into life eternal if we think we can ride upon someone’s coat-tails. If we think we can model ourselves after the latest evangelist, whomever he or she might be, and obtain life, we are sorely mistaken. Only the model of Christ ensures salvation. We must walk His steps, live His life and die His death. How can we enter His rest, His salvation, His heaven if we follow a man-made pattern? Sorry, doesn’t work. Didn’t work for Confucius, didn’t work for Mohammed, won ‘t work for you.
Jesus made some amazing and potentially preposterous claims. He said, “I AM The WAY, The TRUTH and the LIFE.” (John 14. 6) He did not say, I am one of the ways, or a version of the truth or a path to life…He was very concise and straight forward with His claims. He also said “…that before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8. 58) This is a clear statement verifying and establishing His claim to godhood. How can you, a professing Christian hope to find salvation without recognizing the DOOR to that salvation? Jesus said that He was THAT door (John 10. 7-9). No man can be saved unless he, buy the power of the Holy Spirit enter that door (John 1. 12) and receive power to become the sons of God.
Now what happens to a man when he enters that door and is saved? He becomes a new creature (2 Corinthians 5.17). He becomes a brand new species of person. Alive, awake, immortal. His life changes, his ways change, his desires change. His relationship with Christ and sin changes. His old ways suddenly look different. The mask of subtlety is removed and he sees his sin for what it is. Disgusting, stinky rotten death. Why would anyone embrace a rotten corpse? This is exactly what the new Christian does if he does not turn his back on his old life and ways. This is why a new Christian is different and regularly gets ostracized by his peers, family and those around him. It’s a hard life being a Christian. It’s fraught with trials and tribulations. It’s a life of self-denial and self sacrifice, knowing that once on this journey there will be only two ultimate decisions: Abort or death.
That Narrow Way is contrasted with the Broad Way for a reason. The Broad Way is easy, wide and this road lacks one thing: Submission. Picture a river. The world and thosehypocritical church-goers lay back on their rubber rafts and allow the flow of the river to take them where it wants them to go. The flow of water is the world system. Where they will end up is hell. However tell that to Mr. Jones who is busy relaxing, soaking up the glorious sunshine while the river does all the work. Suddenly, the group starts snickering and pointing. There’s one of them again. “Fools!” They all yell. “Stop fighting the current! Relax and let the water do the work.”
Who are they ridiculing and yelling at? Biblically saved slaves of Christ. You see, it’s our station in life to always go against the flow of society. That’s what makes us stand out and puts us at eternal enmity with the world. We have and always will be in opposition with the status-quo. It’s in our nature as Christians to go against the flow of man and his ways.
It’s hard fighting the flow. It’s tiring, it’s unpopular…it’s costly. How do we reconcile our decision to always be in the world’s cross-hairs? This is not our home. We are pilgrims, passing through, waiting for God to call us home. Do pilgrims put down roots? Do pilgrims make a strange land their home when they know they will be shortly leaving that land? Of course not. We would find it funny to see a band of Gypsies with their wagons and tents, attempting to build homes for themselves along the side of the road. One might ask, “What are you guys doing? I thought you never settled down?” Pilgrims have a destination in their hearts. Whether it be another country or it be a sense of wanderlust, they are always on the move. Christians are the same. We must be constantly of the mindset where we know that God could command us to move to another country. He might command us to change jobs. He might command us to move to an Islamic country to die for Him to set ablaze the fires of revival. The main thing is we just don’t know and we can’t live life and act like we do.
There are no short cuts with God and He will definitely never be a means to anyone’s ends. You can’t make Him do anything He doesn’t wish to. His ways are inscrutable and higher than our highest intellect. His sovereignty encompasses His Godhood. Without sovereignty, He is not God. He gives us our breath, our heart beat, our very existence. The entire course of human history from the moment He said, “Let there be light”, to the moment when it all just stops, He will be in control. Every breath, every life, every eternal destiny. A short cut is mainly devised by those who are either lazy or lacking in courage and stamina. Short cuts usually mean a person breaking a law, or doing something that is illegal. A man who is trained in a race has no need to take a short cut. It’s always the man who is ill-prepared for the contest that must resort in cutting off some distance in order to justify his incompetence.
There is a story that I read some time ago where a man was given a cross to drag through his life. Over mountains, through streams and mud, over fences he struggled to drag this massive cross. Over time he wearied of his burden and sought out someone to shorten his cross to make it more manageable (short cut). For some time, his journey was easier, but over time he wearied again, and so he got his cross shortened yet again and then again until he was able to easily carry it with him. At the end of his life, he stood at a valley overlooking a beautiful world called Heaven. He was told that the only way for him to cross over was to lay his cross down and walk across on it. He then realized the horror of his foolishness. He realized that his cross was too short now and he could never cross over to heaven. His cross was easy in this life, but because it was too short, it was unable to prepare him for the next world. This is the destiny of many church-goers who have sought out the easy life, the prosperous life, the successful life. They think in making their lives easy, they can be of better service to God, but in their folly they don’t realize that even Christ said through Paul we would have much tribulation and would enter heaven through hardships (Acts 14.22).
Hardships?! Do we hear these words coming out of the mouth of Creflo Dollar or Kenneth Copeland? Do we hear these words coming from the typical modern-day church pulpit? No. Why? Because it’s unpopular. No one wants to have their parade rained on. No one wants to be told that they will suffer loss. No one wants to leave church with a heavy heart.
The life of the Christian has the potential of any sort of loss and suffering God decides to accomplish His goals in your life and in the world. Be rest assured, Christianity is not for wimps. When a bunch of Muslims gang rape and behead a little Christian woman, the real warrior will be the woman. She will suffer and die for her Saviour, and no one will take that from her. When persecution comes, and it will…those who have been living the lie, will fall aside and the true Christians will rise up and shine bright for their Saviour.
The ever Narrowing Way will crush us and God will succeed in molding us into the likeness of Christ. Will you submit to His crushing?