“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
It’s shocking how many people do not discern truth. Even the most basic foundational understanding escapes their sense of reason. That’s because Satan’s GPS masterfully locates rebellious humans that are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually unstable. First he blinds and then he binds until their truth is a mangled heap of foolishness. It’s not only sad, it’s discouraging and frustrating for people who love God and who stand for His truth.
We are Jesus’ flock living in a pasture with ravenous wolves just outside our protective fencing. We can hear the howls through the darkness. We see their gnashed teeth through threatening growls, but we are protected by the One who stands guard over us every minute of every day. In these days of grave deceit and roaming evil, aren’t you so grateful for the protection of our precious Shepherd?
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9
The narrow gate is a reference to the way of salvation. It is reserved for the ones who accept Jesus as Savior. He is the way to the only truth that delivers abundant life.
Mind you, not all sheep that enter the gate are equal. There are sheep within the fold that hold more faithfully and more closely to the Shepherd. These are the steadfast followers that refuse to compromise their devotion or water down their practices. They keep their mind stayed upon the One who has created a safe haven for them. Their steps hold closely to the good Shepherd’s side. Their comfort is to be near Him.
Then, there are the sheep that remain on the fringe of the fold. They gaze over the fence to exchange glances with the wolves. They stretch their necks to nibble on the grass just outside the fencing to see if it tastes sweeter than the grass the Shepherd provides. Some even jump the fence to mingle with the wolves. “It will be harmless,” they tell themselves. “I know in whom I belong.”
If you know in whom you belong, then why do you mingle with the enemy? What can he possibly offer you that Jesus cannot? Do not be deceived! You are craning your neck to nibble on the enemy’s offerings thinking you will obtain something better than Jesus provides. Isn’t that what Adam and Eve did? And didn’t they receive their just reward for their rebellion? Do you think Satan will offer you a different result?
I am very concerned about the level of deception in the church. A watered down gospel is creating a culture of compromise. Hearing the guidelines of scripture and not abiding by them is so widespread that it feels normal to many.
In these dangerous times, we must be careful not to play with the temptations of the enemy. What seems harmless can lead us into the depths of a spiritual wilderness where ravenous wolves will surround us on all sides. This type of spiritual positioning will leave us vulnerable to the evil in this world. Let us never forget that sin’s temptation has great power to disconnect us from the Father.
I realize this is a hard word. I also realize this does not apply to many reading this devotional. Friend, if you are a faithful believer, pray for the sheep that linger on the edge of the flock. Pray that the sinful temptations they struggle with would leave them tired of an unhealthy return. Pray for God to restore the prodigals and cultivate faithful hearts in them. We need each other, and God’s greatest desire is for His flock to be healthy and whole.
If this devotional is speaking to you, please reconsider your steps. Ask the Lord to teach you to love His ways. Ask Him to transform your desires so that Jesus will become your greatest temptation.
Prodigal, please come home.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14
For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. Leviticus 11:44a
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” John 10:14