Thanksgiving

          We’ve all been in places of extreme pain. Painful loss of loved ones. Pain both physically and spiritually. We read in the bible all the different pains experienced by those “who love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I myself wonder sometimes, “God, how much more pain? It feels like too much. I can’t bear much more!!” That’s where I see that lie from the world seep into my mind, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” How’s that a lie you ask? Because the word never says He’ll never give us too much or more than we can handle. No matter what He allows us to have, gives us, or requires of us, “I can to all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13).

          I have often struggled with understanding this verse, but in light of recent events in life I have a greater understanding of what this means. This walk on the narrow road is filled with pressure. Pressure to perform under pressure. To “be holy as I am holy” (1 Peter 15-16), to “pick up your cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23), to hate everything compared to Christ (Luke 14:26) while loving others more than ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). I have heard many say things like, “This road is too difficult,” or “It shouldn’t be this hard” or “I Tried” but Jesus made his statement simple to understand and shouldn’t be confusing at all, “The gate is narrow, and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14).

          One might argue that the wording Jesus used in the Greek doesn’t seem to match the ESV. So we look into the Greek. The word for “narrow” is stenos and can mean small. Like a small gate.Vines Expository Dictionary of the New Testament says this ‘is used figuratively of the gate which provides the entrance to eternal life, (it is) “narrow” because it runs counter to natural course.’ The second word in the sentence is thlibo and carries the idea of a “narrow mountain pass”. It gets smaller and more difficult to go through.

          So the gate is small, and the road gets narrower and narrower as we walk this difficult path to holiness. It’s why “few find it”. These few are not because of any pixie dust or chants; they are just ordinary sinners like you and me. They are the few that have chosen to say in every situation “not my will but your will be done.”  This is fully trusting that the God you gave your life to is working all things for your Good. Even when your life is falling apart.

          Jesus made a promise to those who choose to follow Him, forsaking all things that this meager human existence has to offer. To those who purposefully give up everything, will in this life and the life to come (eternity) gain so much more (Luke 18:28-30 AMP). I have personally had my share of painful loss and experience, yet have seen much gain in this life, and have full security in knowing that the treasure being built up in heaven is far more than I can ever imagine.

          “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor 4:17). For me, this is a reminder that all the weight and   pressure felt in this life is absolutely nothing in comparison to eternity with My King. If all of time were measured out, say into ten football fields laid end to end, my meager life would be but a blade of grass on all those fields. Somewhere, you’re on it as well.

          This is why I hold so tightly to Philippians 4:13; I can really do all things in this life through Christ who gives me all the strength. As Paul so rightly wrote to the Galatian church, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). If it’s He in me and I in Him there is no amount of pain, weight, pressure, or agony I am not able to walk through on this way we call the narrow road.

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Published by Hillside Christian Church

We Proclaim: Faith Alone in Jesus Christ is all you need for Salvation! Baptism is an act of obedience following a confession of faith. An outward sign of an inward reality. Sunday Morning at Hillside Adult and Children’s Sunday School — 9:00 a.m Home of the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 Children's Church 10:15 a.m. Worship and Preaching of God’s Word— 10:15 a.m. Praise Band Lead Worship: Easy Listening Contemporary Style and Traditional Music Arrangement

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