Summary: As Jesus concluded His Sermon on the Mount, He advised His listeners that, having heard His message, they had to make the inevitable choice between the way of spiritual life and the way of spiritual death. So do we.
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU CHOSE THE RIGHT WAY! CONTINUE YOUR JOURNEY IN PEACE!
Getting on an airplane at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is quite a challenge. There’s a right way and a wrong way. If you try to board the aircraft any other way than that which is prescribed, you will be arrested and jailed, and you will appear before a judge who will read you the “riot act” before sentencing you.
There’s only one way to enter into the “boarding zone” for getting onto a plane that will take you to your destination – and the entrance to that zone is very, very narrow, less than three feet wide.
Once you’ve been examined by security personnel and found to be fit for entry, you’re cleared to proceed toward your destination - cautiously - alert to any possible danger - and you are told repeatedly, “If you see something, say something.”
John Oxenham wrote a poem about the choosing of a way: “To every person there openeth a way and ways and a way; and the high souls tread the high way, and the low souls grope the low; and in between on the misty flats the rest drift to and fro; but to every person there openeth a high way and a low; and every person decideth the way his or her soul shall go.”
As Jesus concluded His Sermon on the Mount, He told His listeners that, having heard His message, they had to make that inevitable choice between the way of spiritual life and the way of spiritual death – Matthew 7:13-14 . . .
What Jesus told us here is plain and simple. Life has its cross-roads, and the choice we make determines our destiny. The difference between the two ways is the difference between: the hard way and the easy way . . . the disciplined and the undisciplined way . . . the thoughtful and the thoughtless way.
The heart of the matter is this: No one would ever take the easy, undisciplined way if they only thought! As William Barclay points out, “Everything in this world has two aspects: how it looks at the moment and how it will look in the time to come.”
Think about it: The easy way may look inviting . . . effortless . . . enticing - at the moment. Yes, we can take the easy way only to learn after a while or perhaps after it’s too late that the easy way - the broad way – with all its options, with no rules, few constraints, no ethics, no moral compass – is a path of life contrary to God’s Will, and therefore prone to evil not good. The easy way, left unchecked, eventually leads to destruction.
Thank God! You chose the right way! Had you chosen the wrong way (“my own way”) it would mean that, whereas you were born once, you would die twice. Having chosen the right way (“God’s way”) means that you were born twice, but will die only once.
When a ruler of the Pharisees came to Jesus one night and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”, remember what Jesus told him? “You must be born again.”
Thus, when we repent of our sin of unbelief and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive a new life that is spiritual in nature for time and eternity. This is not to say that there will be no challenges along the path of life.
Life has been no “bed of roses” for you or me. We have had to wrestle with so much in so many ways, not the least of which has been our constant challenge to discern between truth and error.
For wisdom to make that determination we have had to depend on the Holy Spirit of God. Only with the Spirit’s help have we been able to see things in the light of eternity. So . . .
Knowing that we would face such a challenge, Jesus used a term similar to what we are told at the airport. There, we are reminded at every turn to be alert to possible danger. In the spiritual realm into which we have entered via the right gate - the One who is “the door” - Jesus cautioned us: “Beware” – Matthew 7:15-23 . . .
Pay close attention to! Cautiously watch out for! Examine closely what you are being told and who is telling you. Simply ask yourself, “Is his or her life consistent with the standards taught by Jesus?”.
By asking this question, you are not judging motive, you are “making a judgment” of their “fruit” - whether it is consistently good or bad. Mama told me: “Actions speak louder than words.”