Take Up Your Cross
The Journey Is Part Of The Plan
The life of a disciple is not a magic formula to a perfect life, nor is it an armchair ride into eternity, it is a life of surrender and perseverance.
Jesus says there are 2 paths we can choose to go as shown by Matthew 7:13-14
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.
When I was a bit younger and slimmer a friend asked me if I would like to go caving, as I had never done it before I enthusiastically said yes, thinking nice big cave sounds fun. So off we go, a bit of a cold day so we are rugged up with torches at the ready. We arrived at this cave which was actually nothing more than a hole in the ground, my first reality check of the day. As we descended it open into a nice wide cavern big enough to stand in, I thought this is good. My friend motioned toward a small hole in the wall on the other side of the cavern, I looked at the narrow opening and said no way am I going in there. Well he was determined to go on so I had a decision to make, stay in the nice wide cavern or follow into the narrow passage. My friend told me that the destination would be worth the journey so off we went. As I approached the opening and soon realised that there was no way I would fit without shedding some of the bulking clothes I was wearing, so off came the jacket and in I climbed, head first pushing the torch in front of me as I went. Now if you have claustrophobia you will love this. I wriggled nervously into the hole and proceeded to slide along on my belly, occasionally scraping my back against the roof of this narrow passage. At times I could feel the panic starting to well up in me, urging me to go back. But a couldn’t turn around and I couldn’t back up, I could see my friends feet in front of me as he forged the way and I could only think “don’t stop now, keep going” because if he got stuck I could possibly have screamed. Not a good look. This 20 metre passage seemed like it went on forever. Finally the narrow passage ended and I entered into a huge cavern with the most amazing rock formations, as my friend had said the journey through the narrow passage was worth it.
Its not just about the destination, its also about the journey. Christ does not call us to take it easy, He does not say life will be a breeze, in fact he says in this world you will have trouble.
Sometimes as Christians we can start off enthusiastically and excited but then when challenges come our way and the going gets tough we can panic, have second thoughts and decide to take an easier path.
In the end in that cave I could have chosen to remain in the wide open cavern and not venture into the narrow passage but then I would have missed out on all that was on offer at the end of the journey.
The narrow passage may sometimes seem to close in on you, that is why you need to shed that which hinders us, much in the same way I needed to shed my bulky clothes. Jesus alludes to some of these things in Luke 9:25-26. Being ashamed of Christ will keep you from following, wanted to retain your old life will steer you toward the wide road also.
The wide road may seem easier but in the end it doesn’t lead to God
For Jesus says that not only is the path narrow but the gate is small also.
We can’t live life on the wide road and then expect to go through the small gate at the end.
We are called to persevere, to run the race to win the prize, to hold fas to the end and to carry the cross in the same way Christ did.
But take heart……John 16:33