Thursday, March 10, 2011

Prize and Pitfalls

Friday night we started a series looking at the pitfalls of life and the one real prize that we have to look forward to.  We began by looking at how to chase after the prize with 5 individual issues that are important in the life of a Christian when we look at life as a race.

And we concluded with the thought that the race can be won, when it is run in a specific manner.  With perseverance, passion, not being satisfied with the things of the past, not looking back, trusting that you will not fail and knowing that the one who is in you is greater then the one who is in the world.  With this in mind we all have the capacity to win the prize, but we must in the very least put effort towards it, be in training and finish strong.

But in all this one thing is catching my attention more and more.  I haven't devoted a huge amount of energy to it, because it has the appearance of a peripheral teaching to the main teaching I am in right now.  But I will take these few minutes and scribe my thoughts for you, maybe it will lead to something from there.

I this series on pitfalls and the prize I have constructed a target board for our youth to throw a dart at, in hopes of hitting the very small center circle and win a prize, from 15 feet away.  There are also 3 larger circles in which the word pitfall is written, this is where the 'game' takes place.  As an illustration to the point that we have many pitfalls to avoid in life, and the prize is center in our life, they must try to negotiate the distance and trials to win the prize, or they have to walk through a pitfall, a disgusting, yet entertaining pitfall.

The teaching on this game?  Matthew 7:13-14:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Here are my thoughts on this passage, again you may have your own ideas and images of any given passage, I'm not asking for you to agree with me, just to indulge me as I share my thoughts with you.

Life can be tough, finances, health, relationships and so many other areas take our time and attention, and soon we find our selves worn out, full of anxiety and looking for a way out.  There is a door.  Do you remember the tiny little door in Alice in Wonderland, the one that led Alice on a journey of fantasy and amazement?  Think of that door as a gate, and make it just as narrow as it is short.  Why does it have to be so small, how can I possibly fit my life style, my past, my current issues, my ego, all my wants and desires through that tiny little gate.  How can God ask me to try and fit through there as I am right now?

That road right there, the huge gate on the left side, I can fit through there with no struggle, no problems and I can be me with no fear of life.  And just as quickly as the decision is made to enter the wide gate is made the first trouble comes our way and destruction sets in on us, doom is coming, and it started because the easy road was wide and accessible. 

The narrow gate requires one thing of us, to see beyond what we have created as a small mindset, its all about me, my lifestyle, my ego, my money, my toys, me, ME, ME.

The narrow gate asks us to shed it all, and allow God to reform us into the masterpiece he originally intended.  The wide gate?  Come with all your issues, allow them to weigh you down, no need to think about others, just live your pitiful, trial stained life and the wide gate will add to it.  So much so that you will soon have no hope.

The narrow gate, it is made of hope.  Actually, the arrow gate is made of a man.  Jesus.  He is the gate, the way to the Father.  His way is narrow, but it is also a light burden, a path to reformation, a stretch of road to a prize that no man, no woman, no possession can offer.

The narrow gate is the only way to achieve real life, and it's not a fight to get through it or to walk down the narrow path.  It's aided by Jesus as you pass through the gate, which again is Jesus (John 10:7-10), so your life has a helper, a guide, a friend and an intercessor.

The way to real full life is narrow because it does not leave room or make excuses for heavy expectations and tarnished goals or faulty gods.  The way to life is narrow because it keeps you focused on the prize.

The path to destruction is wide because in it's great span, you can easily be distracted by the many 'great adventures' life can offer, ones that weigh you down, tear apart your self worth, give you a horrible image of others and eventually leaves you weeping in a corner for one person to help you.

Find the narrow road, find life, live life, win the prize.

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