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SCRIPTURE - MATT 7 : 14                                                                                                   JAN, 2003

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.


Life, there is nothing like it. From the time we came in to this world, until now, we have enjoyed all of the ups and downs of it. Some of us, have enjoyed more of the good things that it has to offer, while others have had to struggle to find any thing to be really happy about, but, still, just being alive, is something to be happy about. If we look at what others in other countries have to face every day, then we should all be thankful.

What makes life, or rather its experiences good, or bad? There are usually many factors involved in the equation, but the main factors are the choices that you make.

Choices. The key to everything that occurs in our lives, and the resulting pleasure or pain that we experience, comes from the choices that we make. In fact, the bible gives us direct instruction on what to expect in our lives, based on what we decide to do, and how we act. (Deut. 11:26 - 28, 28 : entire, 30:19, Gal. 6:7).

When I say everything that occurs in our lives depends on choices we make, that says that we are responsible for our own life experiences, whether good, or bad.

A lot of people, don't like that line of thinking, because it puts accountability, directly in their court.

In our society today, we can see glaring examples of this, when we see people, going to court, suing people, for injuries, or other damages, that they, themselves, caused, because of their own actions. One lady sues a restaurant, because she gets burned by some coffee she spilled on herself, while in her car. Now, I wasn't there, and don't know all the details, but, no one said the person handing her the coffee spilled it on her. She spilled it on herself, probably because she was mishandling something that was known to be hot, namely coffee. We have people, that have injured themselves, acting stupid, or committing a crime, and then suing somebody else for their injuries, sometimes their victims, in the case of criminal behavior.

Well, these are only a couple examples of simple things. But look at those people that smoke cigarettes, that end up with lung cancer, emphysema, throat cancer or other disease, and want to sue the cigarette manufacturer. And what's worse, is people that sit on juries, and award them millions of dollars. With examples like this, and the coffee episode, no wonder we are seeing so many frivolous lawsuits, popping up, threatening jobs, and raising prices on products, when manufacturers or other companies have to recoup their losses, or go out of business.

The bible lets us know, that we, irrespective of what we want to believe, we will suffer or prosper, based solely on what we do, or don't do.

That leaves a very sour taste in the mouths of those that refuse to accept responsibility for their actions. By society, catering to this notion, no wonder we have the mess that we have today. With nobody willing to stand up and face the music, hardly, we are heading down the road to destruction.

Heading down the road. Let's look at that term, as it pertains to our lives, both physical, and spiritual.

Let's look at two roads, or paths, or as in the case of our subject verse, gates. We have two opposite examples. One wide, and the other, narrow.

The wide road, path, or gate, represents a condition, that allows for maximum movement, with ease. By that I mean, a lot of people, or traffic can travel on, or through them, and they can do it with maximum speed.

Look at freeways, for instance. They are designed just for that purpose. Many cars, can move at maximum speeds, without having to worry about stopping for stop signs, traffic lights, and pedestrians. They are designed to get you from point 'a', to point 'b', in the shortest amount of time. As long as there are no tie ups, everyone is happy.

Whenever possible, people will opt for freeways, because they are in a hurry, and they want to get where they are going, fast.

When dealing with the narrow roads, paths or gates, you have restrictions of movement. Few people can travel there. It is easy to get congested, and there is always more to look out for. On narrow streets, you have to watch your speed. There may be kids, playing nearby, and they may run out in front of you. You have stop signs, traffic lights, and a host of other things that increase the amount of vigilance you have to put forth, to negotiate them safely.

When dealing with the former, freeway condition, stress levels are minimized. With the latter, they are greatly increased.

Many of the choices we make in driving on different roads, are directly related to how much stress we are willing to deal with. If I can take the freeway someplace, I will do it, so I can get there quick, with less stress, than dealing with traffic on the surface streets. Naturally, if I have no choice but to take the surface streets, then that's not my, responsibility.

Well, in life, the choices we make, can be just like conditions on the freeways, and surface streets.

We make our choices, based on several factors. And the main one is, stress. How much stress is it going to cause me, if I decide to go this way, or that?? One of the main stress factors is, what will people think of my choice??? How, can I deal with it??

The answer to these questions, is, we want to be looked on favorably by others, and feel good, so we go with the easy flow of society, and get on the wide path, and go through that wide gate, that leads to destruction.

More and more people today, in this nation especially, choose, everyday, to go the easy path of life, because they don't want to deal with things that may hamper their happiness, and 'feel good about yourself', way of thinking. They figure, the only way to feel good, about themselves, is to have people around them, that reinforce that mentality, so they fall in, 'lock step', with the majority of society. This is why, the physical condition of society is so bad. They have chosen the wrong spiritual path, that leads to physical destruction.

By that, I mean, all things, that happen to us, good or bad, depend on one thing, and one thing only, and that is God. If we do what He says is right, we will be blessed, and prosper, and have good success. If, on the other hand, we choose to go our own way, we will suffer.

Life, without God's direction, is like being on the freeway. Most people travel it. They are free from restrictions, and they feel good, because, they have a lot of company. Whatever they feel like doing, they do, with the support of those that surround them. They don't like to be thought of negatively. They want to feel good, and be liked by as many people as possible. The more, the merrier.

Life, with God's direction, is just the opposite. It is like the narrow, side streets. You have little traffic, and warning signs, stop lights, and other things that put restrictions on your movement. When it comes to stress, it is greatly increased, because few travel there, and those that choose it, are met with scorn, ridicule, and persecution. Something that is looked on as madness, by those on the freeway. Why stay on the side street, when you have this great big freeway?? It is where the freeway is leading you, versus the side street.

The spiritual choice to travel without God's direction, on that freeway has led to, corruption in government, increases in crime, the spread of all types of diseases, including cancer, TB, and AIDS. The deaths of our kids, to crime and suicide, are all direct results of these choices. Loss of jobs, and the overall condition of society, can all be blamed on what society, itself, chooses do.

Those of us, that are on the side street, have been on the freeway in the past, and occasionally, have gotten on it again, when we decided to get away from God's direction. The good thing is, there is always an exit ramp, to get off.

You know, people usually get on freeways, because they know where it will take them. The problem is, this freeway will take them straight to destruction, and hell, if they follow it to the end.

Now, that is madness. Especially when they have been warned, by the signs that God has put in place. What signs am I talking about?? All of the bad things that I previously mentioned.

If God is in control of everything, and so many things are going wrong, then it has to be, that God is allowing these things to happen, because of something that we are doing, and we need to fine out what it is.

Standing up for righteousness, is not easy. But, the end result, is worth all of the problems that we may face.

There is a story in the bible about two men. One was called Lazarus, and the other was just referred to as, 'a rich man.' Lazarus', life, was one of poverty and disability. The 'rich man', had it all. Finally, both of them died. Lazarus, went on to 'what was termed as, the bosom of Abraham (an old testament reference to paradise, and Heaven). The 'rich man', ended up in hell. The rich man was told, that he had all the good things of life, while Lazarus suffered, all of his life. But, in eternity, Lazarus, got the best, while the 'rich man', got the worst. Now, it is not a sin to be rich. The problem is, how you acquire it, and what you do with what you have. If your focus on life is, getting rich, having a good time, being liked by everyone and basically, doing your own thing, with no regard to what God says, then you can have it, and all that goes with it. But, the end result is, you will suffer.

Society tries to take narrow paths, and widen them. You can't take God's way, and make it fit your way. Many so called Christians, follow this way of thinking, because it fits their religious agenda. They want all of God's blessings, but they want them on their terms. As soon as they have do that, they have left the street and gotten on the freeway.

They don't like the idea of not being able to go to the casinos, playing the lottery, or the numbers. They frown on the idea that they can't shack up. Some really get upset, when you tell them that shacking up with someone of the same gender, is an abomination. Dare I mention their political choices??? Christians voting for people, whose agenda is totally anti-Christ, and they defend it based on stretching the truth, and lying on top of that.

It is this last part, that is at the root of the majority of our problems, because it is the preachers, that have jumped on the freeway, and led the politicians, and everyone else, down the road to destruction.

God, has given us plenty of warnings. He has signs posted all down the road, saying, 'EXIT, DANGER AHEAD!!!' But, you think about all the stress of traveling on the streets, and figure, you will keep going, until you have no choice but to exit. You may not get that chance, you see. That freeway is your life. And, your life could end at any minute. And if you die before you get off, then you are on your way to hell. People die in that situation, every day. Stray bullets, a person running a stop sign or red light, and now terrorists. Any thing can take you out of here. It's time to make up your mind, and take the next exit, before it is too late.

God says, "The day you hear My voice, harden not your heart." You are hearing His voice today.

If you want to take heed to the warning, take the exit now, by praying, this prayer. 'Lord Jesus Christ, I am a sinner, and I ask you to forgive me of my sinful ways, and to come in to my heart, and be Lord over my life. I believe that You died on the cross, and rose again, so that I may have eternal life. I accept you as my Lord and Savior, right now, In Jesus name I pray. Amen.'

That is known as the prayer of salvation, or the prayer that has put you on the exit.

The ball is in your court. Which way do you choose to go???