If you have never been to Rock City in Chattanooga, Tennessee, add it to your bucket list. You’ll find it at the top of Lookout Mountain. The area known as Rock City is full of many unique rock formations.
There are different paths to take as you encounter fascinating natural wonders. I have taken youth groups there but have never had a group that completed the journey at the same time—even when they took the same path. Some rush through, some stop and explore.
Because Jesus’ gates lead to life paths, you have the freedom to choose the path to follow. You have the freedom to decide how to spend your time on each path. How it ends is your decision. The apostle John says in I John 2:12-13 (KJV), “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.”
There are a lot of becauses in these verses. Each one is directed to a different stage in life. They are each about receiving the truth because of choosing the path which leads into a relationship with Jesus.
Lord of Truth, I know the Bible is written to me because I choose the truth! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ caused the Bible to be written to me—I will study!
MATTHEW 7:13_and many there be which go in thereat.
There are reasons many enter at the wide gate. It is tempting, accessible, and allows for baggage. It’s easy—all you have to do is follow the crowd, which requires neither intelligence (no decisions to make), nor courage (won’t be standing alone).
It takes little strength to do what’s wrong. It requires no thought process—just follow your natural instincts. There is no submission, do what you want to do. Simply do what pleases you, and what pleases the people with you. There is no accountability for your actions. Personal responsibility will not be following you around. In short: No rules, No standards, No boundaries. Sounds exactly like the Land of Cocagne in the story of Pinocchio.
Pinocchio made the decision to become responsible and obedient. There was a reward for that—he would become a real boy. But when his friend, Candlewick, described the carefree land of excessive pleasures, the temptation was too strong (for a heart without Jesus). Rather than becoming a real boy, he became a real donkey—and all the hard labor that goes with it.
In The Merchant of Venice, 1600, Shakespeare said it like this, “All that glitters is not gold.”
Very seldom is the easy way the best way.
Merciful Jesus, Help me follow Your way—not the easy way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me to be bold and courageous—I will be!
MATTHEW 7:13_for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction…
Then there is the second gate. Jesus describes it as wide and broad. You won’t need any help finding that gate. It is wide—how could you miss it? When you reach an accountable age, your eyes are opened to two gates; you’ll see the widest one first. The size makes it visible, and … more tempting.
Because of its size, you see something else—how easy it is to enter. The wideness allows you to bring all kinds of baggage.
Not only is the gate wide, but once inside the way is broad. If in the baggage you brought along some pride, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes arrogance. If you brought just a little bit of a grudge, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes hate and bitterness.
In Jesus’ words it’s plain – this broad way leads to destruction. Count on it! Psalm 27:11 (KJV), “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”
Make the choice in your youth to enter the strait gate. It will save you numerous regrets in your adult life.
God Who Saves, Please save me from entering the destructive path of life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ saves me from the wide gate—I will follow Him!
MATTHEW 7:13_Enter ye in at the strait gate…
Jesus teaches there are two ways to enter this trip called life. Each entrance has a gate. He said to enter at the strait gate. A path designed to lead you to treasure—an abundance of treasures. Treasures only God can give—which make them far more valuable than anything the world offers. Things like: I Timothy 6:6 (KJV), “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Contentment is one grand treasure! Stop and think for a moment what life would be like if you were content. That means you would be satisfied—not constantly wanting, changing, or re-arranging. It does not mean you shouldn’t ask, seek, or knock for improvements. It simply means you know the peace that comes with being satisfied.
Notice a requirement prerequisites this kind of contentment—godliness. When you enter at the strait gate, you will find godliness before you find contentment.
Psalm 5:8 (KJV), “Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.”
Psalm 31:3 (KJV), “For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”
Psalm 25:4 (KJV), “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.”
Ask God to help you enter at the strait gate.
Righteous Lord, I don’t know if I can find the strait gate, but I can follow You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ leads to the strait gate—I will follow Him!
MATTHEW 7:13_Enter ye in at the strait gate…
Your world entry – you are born. Your adulthood entry – you make decisions for yourself.
There is always some form of authority—first and foremost God’s. When parents no longer pick you up, take you places, or make decisions for you – it is time to spread your wings and fly!
Jesus wants you to enter this new (adult) life through the strait gate. You’ve heard about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? God has something that good and better through the strait gate.
Jesus has not quite completed His sermon, but everything He has taught thus far leads to the right path. By the time you reach the end of this sermon, you will have uncovered an extremely large treasure (and this is only three chapters out of the entire Bible!).
John 14:2-5 (KJV), “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”
Thomas wasn’t sure about the way. Jesus’ says it’s the strait gate!
Eternal God, I want to enter in at the strait gate. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is the strait gate—He will lead me!