"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." – Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
Following God and being a Christian is one of the greatest privileges you can ever have in your life. Knowing the truth about Jesus Christ and the power of His salvation is greater than probably any thing that you could ever feel, or imagine. If you've been a Christian for a long time you probably understand this; if you haven't, I challenge you to stick with it or come to faith and see how amazing it really is! It is truly the honor of my life to follow Jesus.
In saying this however, faith is not easy. There are roadblocks, speed bumps, trials and all of these things can really make us feel like the path at times isn't worth it. That's not to say that it isn't worth it, it's just sometimes hard. It can also be pretty lonely. Today, if you will indulge me a few minutes of your time, I want to talk about the lonely road of faith.
When I say Jesus is everything to me, I mean it! Jesus is everything I live for, would die for, he's just everything to me plain and simple. And that's good and people won't generally have a problem with that oh, if it doesn't come between you and what the world expects of you. That's a problem though, if Jesus is everything to you like he is to me; he is parts of every single thing that you do! That can really make people angry. They don't want to be disturbed by Jesus. It's fine to hear his name every once in awhile or see a cross hanging around their friends neck; but, if Jesus gets into every bit of that person's life, things have to change, the road has to narrow, and that just is it very popular.
Honestly, pardon my bluntness but this can really piss people off! Oftentimes other people won't understand why you do the things you do. It might be clear to you because Jesus is said something to you, spoken into your life, or illuminated something in the Bible for you that is changed your outlook, your life, in a way that pulls you away from things that aren't for you. Those things might not even be bad things, they just no longer your thing and that can be devastating to people who haven't had the same revelation.
When I first came back to my faith and was really called back to Ministry after years of going down a different path for my life, people thought, "Okay maybe she's just having a moment." It was not however a moment, it was a calling and that really changed my life. Every aspect of it, really. I couldn't do things that I used to do oh, I changed career goals, and people didn't understand it. To be honest many of them still don't! And when people don't understand, they tend to want to tell you that you're wrong. They aren't trying to be mean, they just don't see what you see. They might think you're crazy, I know this is the case often with me. They may think you've become lazy or scared of the path you are on. Whatever they might think, it will regularly translate into desertion and loneliness on your end.
This is so hard! I want to tell you that because you follow God and you know Jesus and you know that he's with you all the time, you won't feel lonely you won't feel sad about the rejection others placed upon you. I want to tell you that you won't even notice it because you'll be so wrapped up in the truth. If I told you that though, I'd be lying. It hurts when people walk away, or call you names, or tell others they're embarrassed by you. It's a struggle to know that so many people are so tied to the world's idea of what you should be and what you should do, that they can't see how happy you are where you are. It can feel like they would rather you be a lesser or worse version of yourself just to please them.
God never tells us that walking with him will be easy. He never says that we will never be lonely. He never tells us that we aren't going to cry because the World rejects us. No, instead He's told us the truth about choosing the right path. In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us that we must enter through the narrow gate. He says that the wide gate, that leads to nothing but destruction is popular. People love the gate that they can get through so easily. The narrow gate is harder. The narrow gate brings us to our knees and makes us suck in our breath and our stomachs and all that stuff that we've been letting hang out, just so that we can make it through. Narrow means that there has to be less of us, because there's more of the surrounding protection around that entryway. Likewise, following Jesus requires us to be less of who we were; because there's more of Jesus that takes up that space.
I want you to know that lonely isn't always bad. It might feel that way, and believe me loneliness is the hardest thing I think I ever have had to deal with. I used to run away from it. I used to try so hard to not be rejected that I would give away a piece of myself just so that people would be proud of me, or like me. What I didn't understand then but I do now is that if I was going to give myself away anyways, it's better do so to improve yourself rather than to tear yourself down. Jesus said the wide gate lead to destruction. Isn't that the truth? If we follow the world, not only do we lose eternity but we lose a say in this life that we have here. We live for other people's expectations rather than our own potential and talents. If we followed Jesus however, we gain eternity, shed and Break Free of does crushing expectations of others and get to live out an authentic life being exactly who we are meant to be.
Being a Christian and following Jesus is one of the greatest privileges a person could ever know. That doesn't mean it's easy. It doesn't mean it's not lonely. All that means is it's worth it.