Matthew 7:13,14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

This post can be considered a sequel to the last post, which addressed the issue of having a “divided heart.” Jesus wants people who are committed to Him, which requires us to follow Him down a path that will seem foreign to the world around us. All believers need to make a decision in their hearts how much they want to respond to the word of God. Salvation is a free gift by God, which is based solely on the work of Christ on the cross. However, how close we want to follow Jesus, will come down to how much we will give ourselves to Him. The call of Christ is not to gain the world through the power of faith. There is great emphasis error in the church today, which preaches an “American dream” discipleship, which entails that God will give you everything that the world has to offer. Whether it be the best cars, houses, high paying jobs, vacations, retirement, and a comfortable life. This message is focused on the things of this world. None of these things are essential wrong, but are we worshiping and serving these things more than God? Do we place greater focus on having more money than being a partaker of the gopsel? Do we have the same goals as the world or will we live for the glory of God even when unpopular?  Let’s take a look of what Jesus had to say about these things?

Matthew 6:19 – 21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

This verse hits home with the memory of when I was helping a good friend move furniture out of his grandparent house, who recently died. Looking at all the old clothes, jewelry, pictures, decorations that no longer belonged to this couple anymore. Everything that is part of this world will eventually be destroyed. Jesus was alluding to this point, that believers should be focused on storing treasure in heaven that is eternal. The things of the earth have no lasting effect, so we can’t waste time in trying to gather for the sake of our flesh. Think of cars back in the 1950’s that were being sold for high dollar. If you go to a junkyard you will find parts of these cars. As spiritual people, the Lord does not want us to concentrate our attention on acquiring temporal things. Unbelievers are running around and working horrific hours to obtain nice things. They are giving their hearts to these things, because they have determined that these are the treasures of life. Think of people who lost a great deal of money in the crashing of the stock market in 1929, there were reports that people committed suicide. They figured they lost their treasures, their very life was lost. What we give our hearts to is really our treasure, thus our “god.” Jesus wants His disciples to put value on eternal things and give our lives whole-heartedly to these things.

 Matthew 6:22,23 “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (KJV)

The above verse is from the King James Version, which pulls out more of the meaning. The eye represents what we are focused on. As believers we need to come to a place where Jesus is our single focus, not our circumstances or fleshy desires, but Christ alone. We need to narrow our focus from the things of the world. The effect is that we will be filled with light, meaning we will have the life of God in our hearts, which entails spiritual understanding, wisdom, and revelation of Jesus. The opposite spectrum of this is focusing on the things of the world, which will only leave us dry and filled with darkness. As the famous quotes goes, “You are what you eat.” Whatever you take into your hearts that is what you will become. When I feed my flesh by watching TV or things on YouTube for prolong periods, I am more vulnerable to the sinful desires of my flesh. The world is a place of darkness, that is designed by the devil to keep us from Jesus. The devil wants us to get our joy from the world, like sports and entertainment, not from the Lord. That is why John exhorts us not to love the world or the things in the world (1 John 2:15). The lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life has nothing to do with God! Remember from 1 John 1:5, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. In order for us to mature in Christ, we need to get our eyes off of self and onto Christ. Following Jesus requires us to deny our self-life. Listen to what James had to say about believers that were still focused on their self-life.

James 3:16 “For where envy and self-seeking exist,confusion and every evil thing are there.”

Sounds like darkness to me! When the focuses is on us, we will zoom in on our problems and negative circumstances. Jesus talked about this type of believer in the parable of the soils, where the 3rd seed was choked out by the cares, riches, and pleasures of life (Luke 8:14). This type of soil brought no fruit to maturity. Listen to what the writer of Hebrews tells us about maturity.

Hebrews 5:13,14 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

We need the capability to use the word of God to discern between what is profitable towards the kingdom of God and what is not. Full age is analogous to a mature believer.

  • Eye is good -> kingdom of God -> endure forever
  • Eye is bad -> things of the world, temporal, earthly -> fade away

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon”

This verse is straightforward. You can’t serve God and things of the world at once. Impossible! The Lord wants us to be focused on serving Him with your lives. Jesus in the chapter before, commends those who are pure in hearts, because they will see God. Meaning they will see the working of God in all their trials and circumstances. They can clearly say Romans 8:28 with a heart of assurance “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Worrying about our needs will hinder serving the Lord. The Lord instructs us not to worry, because we have a Heavenly Father that cares for us. The things of the world and sin will weight us down, listen to the writer of Hebrews:

Hebrews 12:1,2 “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”

The Lord desires a people that is running full speed ahead that looks unto Him for everything that comes our way. Paul exhorts us to run the race that we would obtain the prize. If we are constantly looking back to the things of the world, we will have no or very little spiritual progress. Let Go and Follow Jesus!

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you"

Matthew 6:33