Daily encouragement

Video by

Noah Zuniga

ACF Devo Team

dive deeper

Matthew 7:13-14

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Behind the Scenes

As we move through this next year at ACF Church, we are looking at what a deeper life looks like. Our verse today points to the conundrum of having that deeper life. One way is easy and accessible; the other is narrow and difficult. We live in a society that celebrates ease and convenience and shies away from inconveniences. What used to take an hour in the oven now takes five minutes in the microwave. If our internet page doesn’t load in the blink of an eye, we’re looking for a faster computer. Our towns are littered with fast-food restaurants that boast you can “have it your way.” If something inconveniences us, we think nothing of comprising our integrity. We want ease. We want convenience. We want it “our way.”

But our need for ease may also be leading to our destruction. Some say that microwaving food (specifically in plastic) can be harmful to your bodies. Computers cost a lot of money and can drain the bank account. Don’t get me going on fast food. And integrity is a quickly diminishing commodity in today’s world. We don’t see the dangers of that easy path.  

Make it Real

The world tells us, “You do you, boo.” “A little white lie never hurt anyone.” “It was just a small compromise, no one is really getting hurt by this.” “It’s just a bottle of water, Fred Meyer can afford the loss of one bottle of water.”

…oh yeah, that last one — true story. When my son was about two, I had gone to Fred Meyer and missed a bottle of water in the cart when I checked out. I didn’t notice until after I got to the car, got my son buckled into his car seat, unloaded all the groceries, and put the cart back. And there it was, in the front corner of the cart nicely hidden where it had slid down from the seat of the cart. Now, my mind went through several iterations of what I should do — I know, as a Christian, there should have been no question as to what the right thing was and to just to do it. But, I’m also human. And moms, you feel me, right? Getting the 2-year-old back out of the car seat, into the cart, and back inside is no small feat after already spending at least 30 minutes in the store with said 2-year-old…

The world would say, “It’s just a bottle of water. The big corporation will not even feel a tickle of loss from that.” That is the wide gate and the easy path. Just grab the bottle, get in the car, and go home. Fred Meyer would be none the wiser, and their bottom line not one bit damaged. BUT, I just couldn’t do it. The Holy Spirit had to work overtime on me, but He got through. Regardless of how tired I was (did I mention my son was two), I had to do the right thing. The hard thing was through the narrow gate and down the hard path. Because here’s the thing — had I done what the world would call “no big deal,” I still would have had to live with myself. I still would have had to face my son. And that guilt would have torn me up.  It would have made me less effective in my walk.

Let’s look at what our verse says on that. The easy way can lead to destruction — broken and useless — as in a vessel that is broken. Whereas the narrow, more difficult path leads to life, zoe in Greek, meaning “vitality.” Sometimes our “easy” life is not so easy after all. We can hurt ourselves and our walk when we take the convenient, less controversial way.

We can take the easy way out, get in the car and drive away with the bottle of water, compromising our spiritual health and our walk with God, OR we can slow down, take the harder route (go back in and pay for the bottle of water) and maintain our integrity and our spiritual health. We know that things can still be hard when we choose Jesus; in fact, He promised that in John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Instead of being a broken and useless vessel, apart from God, I want to be whole with life and vitality, having the peace of Jesus even when the path is difficult.

Where have you taken shortcuts or made compromises because it was the easy way? Did this lead to life or destruction? What changes can you make now to choose the right path — the path that leads to Jesus?

End in Prayer

Gracious Father — wow! You gave Your life so that we could have life — and abundant life is what You want for us. How do we ever repay You? Lord, lead us through the narrow gate even when the path is hard. Help us to live fully surrendered to You and have a zest and zeal for life. God forgive us when we take the easy path and guide us back to the true way. Thank You for sending Jesus to atone for us when we miss the mark — it’s in His name we pray ~ AMEN!

Written by

Colleen McGeorge

ACF Groups Coordinator