The Narrow Way Leads To Incorruptible Life
There is a Life that abides in the Father. It is the Incorruptible Divine Life of God, popularly called Eternal Life. Jesus Christ the Son has that Life, infact, just like the Father, He is the Life. For any man to lay hold on God’s Life, he must know the Way to the Life.
Amazingly, just as Lord Jesus is Divine Life personified, He is also the Way to Divine Life. This means that no one can posses Divine Life without experiencing Jesus Christ. As in Eden, man could never have that Incorruptible Life without first going to the Tree of Life. The way comes before the destination.
Everyone Carries His Own Cross On The Narrow Way
Lord Jesus showed that the Way to Life is Narrow (Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:24). You cannot continue to please yourself when you are on the Narrow Way. All the stunts that the broad way (the world) permits and adores are not welcome.
Jesus Himself leads everyone on the Narrow Way and everyone He leads carries his own cross (Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24-26; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23-24; Luke 14:27). He is the pioneer on the Narrow Way. He carried his own cross and was crucified upon it. Jesus’ will was submitted completely to the Father and it was through the cross He carried that he learnt to submit His will. He learnt obedience by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8-9) and so will everyone else on the Narrow Way.
Any believer who has not heard about the neccessary suffering on the Narrow Way should brace up for the challenges ahead because the Narrow Way is no place for a jolly ride for the flesh. Our Lord never promised us a jolly ride like some people believe. He promised to be with us through the fire and the storm as well as through the pleasant times and His Presence with us is the assurance He offers (Isaiah 43:1-2; John 14:16-18; Matthew 28:18-20; John 16:33).
What Others Experienced On The Narrow Way
The Narrow Way is a place of self denial as represented by the cross. It is the Grace of God that brings us on this Way and we always rejoice in the Grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. In addition, and surprising to many, like Paul we should rejoice in the tribulations, the pain, the inconveniences that the weight of the cross (self denial) places on us, because the tribulations produce patience in us, patience produces the charcter that Jesus desires to see in us, leading to firm hope on the promise of God that will not fail because of God’s Love that continues to flood our hearts by Holy Spirit (Romans 5:1-5, authour’s paraphrase).
James admonished the brethren in the same way: “Let it be all joy to you, my brothers, when you undergo tests of every sort; because you have the knowledge that the testing of your faith gives you the power of going on in hope; But let this power have its full effect, so that you may be made complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4; BBE).
Peter mentions the same thing to the brethren in a word of encouragement as seen in 1 Peter 1:6-7:
“You have cause for great joy in this, though it may have been necessary for you to be troubled for a little time, being tested in all sorts of ways, so that the true metal of your faith, being of much greater value than gold (which, though it comes to an end, is tested by fire), may come to light in praise and glory and honour, at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (BBE).
In further retrospect, Moses spoke in a similar manner to the Israelites shortly before God took him off the earth. This is what he said:
“…keep in mind the way by which the Lord your God has taken you through the waste land these forty years, so that he might make low your pride and put you to the test, to see what was in your heart and if you would keep his orders or not. And he made low your pride and let you be without food and gave you manna for your food, a thing new to you, which your fathers never saw; so that he might make it clear to you that bread is not man’s only need, but his life is in every word which comes out of the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (BBE).
This is exactly one of the things we learn on the Narrow Way. We learn self denial (denying the flesh of its many ungodly cravings) while we learn to live by the Word that proceeds from the mouth of God (that is living by Jesus and He dwells in you). “But I say, go on in the Spirit, and you will not come under the rule of the evil desires of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; because these are opposite the one to the other; so that you may not do the things which you have a mind to do.” Galatians 5:16-17.
There is a trend in the scriptures referenced above. The trials, temptations, tribulations and all inconveniences eventually work out for the good of the believer. God is in charge and uses these tools to make us more like Him.
In addition, all of these were written to a group of people specially chosen by God. Self denial is very much learnt among other believers. Any church, functioning under the Headship of Christ is a realm of self denial, forgiveness, love, considering other believers more than themselves, love, washing of one another’s feet (this is more than a literal act), patience and mutual encouragement.
Learning From The Brethren Of Smyrna
In the book of Revelation, Lord Jesus speaks to one of the churches through John. The Lord encouraged the Church of Smyrna to remain faithful and strong in the tribulations that were about to befall them. They had experiences of self denial, both individually and corporately, but there was more tribulation to come.
These were brethren who were walking faithfully with the Lord on the Narrow Way. It wasn’t a smooth ride. There were numerous bumps and potholes made worse sometimes by foggy weather conditions. It was the affect of the cross carried in following the Lord.
The will of the flesh loses grip under the cross, because the flesh is not a servant in itself but on the Narrow Way, it must submit to Lord Jesus and that happens underneath the cross.
There is one thing that happens as the weight of the cross presses down on the saints: they become more like Christ. You can trust Jesus that the cross you carry is just the right size for you. He is a carpenter and making crosses is just a part of His work. He would never give you more than you are able to bear and He is there with you and in you to help you all the way.
The Narrow Way is a place of sacrifice where Jesus alone is Lord. Everyone on the Narrow Way is being led into becoming like Christ, that is, partaking of the Life of God. Like Jesus, we will learn to lay down our lives for the Father’s Life and our will for the Father’s Will.
Related post: WHOLENESS IN THE SON