2 Kings 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36
Matthew 7:6, 12-14
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." Mt 7: 12-14
I used to think this passage was referring to the road to heaven (and maybe it is). But knowing how merciful God is and how He wants all of His kids to make it home one day, I’m not so sure anymore. I find it hard to believe that only a few will make it to heaven. Maybe instead it refers to the way we live our lives here on earth. The road that leads to life could be referring to the road leading to abundant life; to living in the Kingdom here on earth. How many people do you know who are totally surrendered to God’s will? Not resigned, but joyfully abandoned to His will? These people live in the Spirit, and display the fruits of the Spirit. They know that true peace and joy don’t come by following our own desires, but by seeking God’s way in everything.
The broad road that leads to destruction could be living by my own will and letting my feelings control me. Until we learn to live in the Spirit, our lives are filled with regret, fear, worry, bickering, selfishness, unforgiveness, envy and sin. Many, many people live this way – even in the church! Often I think we don’t really believe that we can change. "I can’t help it if I worry". But God tells us over and over again in His word not to be afraid and not to worry. He wants to teach us how to live in victory over fear and anger and jealousy. He wants us to put others’ needs before our own and to live by the "Golden Rule".
When we take God at His word, and claim His promises for our own lives, we begin to cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness and self-control. It’s our choice and it’s a process to go from wanting our own way to wanting God’s way. It’s much easier to run our own lives. But by yielding to the Spirit daily, we can grow in holiness and more and more live that abundant life. We can live in the Kingdom now; we don’t have to wait until we die. But it takes courage and discipline and humility to die to ourselves and to put on the mind of Christ and let Him control us.
So, which road will you choose?
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. Janice also leads women’s retreats. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 2, soon to be 3. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.jcarleton.com/ or email her at janice@frcedric/org