â€œEnter through the narrow gate.Â For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.Â But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life; and only a few find it.â€Â Matthew 7:13-14
Â In my lifetime I have seen Christians who, in spite of difficulties and hardships, seemed to always be upbeat, strong, and joyful.Â On the other hand, there were those who never seemed to get it together.Â They were usually worried and often seemed to be caught up in some difficult situation.Â I always attributed that to their personalities and nature.Â But, I have lately been pondering how Christians can be so opposite.
When I read Matthew 7:13-14, it occurred to me that one of the differences in joyful Christians and unhappy ones are the paths they have chosen to take.Â Sometimes Christiansâ€”especially new and immature onesâ€”have decided to follow Jesus down the narrow path, but have not been able to get off the old worldly path on which they are so comfortable.Â They have not yet let God have complete control over all of their life.Â They still want to hold back some areas of their life for themselves.
Being a part-time Christian is not the way to have joy in our salvation.Â When we deny God part of our lives, we miss some of the blessings that He has for us.Â He wants to be Lord of all our life all the time.Â If we are not careful, we will be willing to give him only the areas of our life that we feel pertain to church; but not the everyday business of living in the world.Â We are willing to go to church on Sunday and maybe Wednesday night; read our Bible when we think of it; and say grace and a short bedtime prayer.Â But we are not willing to let God influence our business deals, how we spend our money, how we treat our neighbors, how we treat our enemies, how we treat those in need, etc.Â The end result to us is usually we are under conviction for the sin in our life almost 24/7, making it almost impossible to be joyful unless everything is perfect in our life.
It is not easy to be â€œprayed upâ€ (as the old time saints put it) all the time, but once we have chosen to take the narrow path that leads to salvation, we need to step off the old worldly path that leads in the wrong direction.Â If we feel like we are being pulled in two directions, it could be we are.Â Letâ€™s not let Satan get a foothold on our lives; letâ€™s keep our attention on Jesus and He will lead us home, and on the way we will have that joy of our salvation.
â€œHe will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.â€Â Micah 4:2
Â â€œI guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.Â When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.â€Â Proverbs 4:11-12
Â â€œTrust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.â€Â Proverbs 3:5-6