Scripture: Luke 13: 23-27 “23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’” (ESV)
Observation: Genesis told of Jacob’s struggle with God through the night. I have experienced that struggle, but without the hip displacement. I was on a trip in Israel, and Jesus had become so real to me. One night I lay in a hotel room and struggled with the Lord, and in the morning, I surrendered my heart. My life has never been the same. There have been other struggles, but I have never gone backwards. So much of Luke 13 is all about that struggle. The first subtitle in my Bible is ‘repent or perish’. The master wants to destroy the fig tree, but the gardener asks for one more chance to let it bear fruit. A woman is freed from bondage of a disability and people are upset that it was done on a Sabbath? (That story always reminds me of my mother’s funeral where that Scripture was quoted because she was a bent over woman set free by death – the context at the time didn’t resonate well with me.) Then we come to the story of the narrow door. This always reminds me of Pilgrim’s Progress. Many ways seem right, but often times they lead us to trouble. We sometimes become self-righteous, thinking we have all the answers, but do we? I had someone ask me the other day that if they sinned by fighting with someone and had not confessed or repented of that sin, but died in the night, would they still make it to heaven? Good question. We are warned to not go to sleep in our anger.
Application: There is only one way to eternal life and that is by the blood of Jesus. We must keep a tight reign on our hearts and be quick to forgive, confess and repent. From Ephesians 4: “ 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, it is your desire that you lose no one. Therefore, we ask that you keep us on the narrow path. Don’t let us attempt to take any shortcuts, and don’t let us stray. Keep our eyes fixed on the prize and not on the game. Thank you for your great and gracious love and mercy.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 34-36; Luke 14