TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:14 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• What do you do for a living? And do people get the impression that it’s easy? I run into that a lot…
I also work with a group of misunderstood professionals—hair stylists. They make their jobs look easy! But if you’re not in their industry, you can’t see all the behind-the-scenes details. It’s not just the technical aspect of how they cut, but laws and regulations about their tools and equipment as well as sanitation standards they have to be aware of. There’s a whole bunch of stuff they have to juggle; their profession is so much more than fixing hair.
For Christians, we have a role that looks easy but isn’t. On paper, it should be. We believe in Jesus as the Son of God. We humble our hearts and repent that we’re sinners and ask Jesus to save us, and He does. He’s made it easy for us!
But not simple.
Jesus told us that we would have trouble (John 16:33), and He also talked about the narrow gate being hard. In Matthew 7:14, Jesus said, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Being a Christian has its challenges:
- We have to fight our sinful natures all the time (Galatians 5:17).
- Faith and trust in God are like working out… you have to do it to build it and grow stronger (Romans 10:17).
- Forgiveness is a lifelong challenge (Ephesians 4:32).
- We have to be fruitful with the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
- Every day, we’ve got to put on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).
- We need to do good works but make sure we balance our good works with faith (James 2:14-17).
- We have to accept some things that God says that we simply don’t understand or know how to explain (Isaiah 55:8-9).
That’s just a bit of our personal walk with God. But then, when people get involved, we have a whole other set of challenges:
- We trust in the Word of God as the final authority, but the world has (even some fellow Christians have) made exceptions to God’s Holy Word… so if we call out people (even fellow Christians) we risk being labeled as judgmental and argumentative, or even legalistic.
- The Bible says to love our enemies but how can we disagree with someone and yet love them, without giving an implied endorsement of what we disagree with?!
- If we try to challenge someone with what the Bible says, we’re called bigots.
Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). So these challenges we face as Christians should never be a surprise.
As country music legend Johnny Cash once said, “Being a Christian isn’t for sissies…”
I think of Jesus walking to the cross. Every step of His ministry took Him one step closer to His greatest challenge—bearing the shame and agony of our sins in a barbaric and horrific method of execution. But the worst of the worst was when He cried out, “My God, My God—why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). In those moments, the most horrible obstacle Jesus faced was separation from God.
Yet, He faced the challenge. And won. Jesus didn’t do this blindly, uncertain of the road He would travel. He knew every detail. And was willing to do it.
When being a Christian feels too hard, let’s remember this. Because here’s some comforting truth: we know where our road ends too. We may not have the details, but this journey will end when we see Jesus. And then, it’s a new beginning where we will celebrate and rejoice with Him for eternity!
Until then, He’s equipped us to be up to whatever challenge we face (Ephesians 4:12-16).
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for modeling how to handle the challenges of life in a loving, God-honoring way. Ask the Holy Spirit to equip you and help you to be more like Jesus. Ask Him to help you navigate the narrow road through this world, no matter what obstacles you face.
SHARING ••• Please feel free to comment or share this blog with others. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Also, download a free Bible-In-A-Year Reading Plan when you subscribe! ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.