The Big Squeeze

martian-popping-thing

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”  –Luke 13:24

I’m not what you would call a small man.

I’ve lost 30+ pounds and “found them” again, twice.  In the 14 months that I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve actually gained 5 pounds.  When I shop in the Big & Tall section, no one would mistake me for being there because of my height.

So yeah, I’m a heavy guy.  Which has me wondering about this door Jesus talks about. Just how narrow is it?

You know, I can squeeze into a restaurant booth.  I can squeeze into an airplane seat. I can squeeze into my dress pants without popping a button. But what I really need to know is how tight a squeeze this door really is.  Do I stand a chance? Jesus tells us many will try to enter and not be able.

That makes me nervous.  Because that’s not all I’m carrying.

It’s very hard to enter into the Kingdom if you’re carrying anything sinful: a spare tire around the middle, or an overinflated ego, or bags stuffed with greed, or the giant plank stuck in your eye.

What are you carrying that will make it hard for you to squeeze through the narrow door?

The door is there before us, a challenge for your life and mine, but Jesus didn’t put it there to daunt us or to taunt us.  The truth is, alone, none of us could make it through.  We’re carrying too much!

No, the door serves a purpose for our lives.  Jesus invites us to measure up against that narrow door, to make a wholehearted attempt to mold ourselves into the shape of the Kingdom.  This is the work of discipleship, as we learn to shed what weighs us down and pick up what helps us resemble Christ.

Ultimately, it is God’s Grace that leads us through the door and into the Kingdom.  Every pound we shed is our “Thank You” for bringing us through.

It’s a New Year and a New Start.

So…

What have you got to lose?

Have a great week,

Mitch

straight gate

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Security System

“And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  -Genesis 4:7b

“Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking.”  –Revelation 3:20a

 

We just bought a security system.

Signed the contract, had them install the box, the whole deal.   I’ve never been much of a security guy, but we’re living closer to the city now, and it just seemed the smart thing to do.

We kept it simple–just a tiny sensor at each of the four doors leading into our place.   When the system’s armed and a door is opened, the monitoring company is notified and the police are called.

The problem is, that alarm box doesn’t know who’s at the door.  So when I come home with my arms full of groceries, that alarm’s gonna beep at me the same as if some burglar had broken in.

You and I have a similar problem.   We can’t always tell who-or what to let through the doors of our hearts.   Even scripture points out the confusion.    In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, Jesus tells us to listen, because he’s the one knocking on our door.   In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God warns Cain that Sin is lurking just outside the door.

That’s interesting.   Christ wants in.  Cool.   But Sin wants in, too.   Not Cool.  We need a personal security system that helps us filter the bad from the good.

And we have it.   It’s called discernment.

When I walk into the door of my house, that alarm beeps for 30 seconds.  I have that amount of time to press the disarm button on my key fob, or to enter the code at the alarm box.   Either of those actions allow the alarm to discern that there’s no threat, and it will disarm.

Similarly, God has given us intelligence, intuition, and wisdom which help us discern what is Christ-worthy and what is sinful.   If we are alert, perceptive, and intentional, you and I can be open to all kinds of things–but able to shut the door on that which is not healthy or holy.

Our ability to discern good from evil is God-given and invaluable.  Without it, we might have to keep our doors closed all the time, for fear of being hurt.

It may take you 30 seconds, or 2 minutes, or several days to discern what to let in to your heart, but be thankful…

 

God is monitoring 24/7.

 

Have a great week,

 

Mitch