• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • January 2016
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Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:24 ESV)

… Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)

goals-for-new-year-2016-year-resolutionsThe year 2015 has now given way to the arrival of January 1st, 2016. What will become of us in this New Year? What is God’s will for us? This is the time of year when many people make resolutions they believe will improve their lives.

Jesus Christ has said, “… One thing is necessary”. (Luke 10:42 ESV) Yet, this “one thing” is of cosmic and eternal significance. Like Mary, the sister of Martha, we need to choose the good thing which will not be taken away. (Luke 10:42 ESV) We must struggle to enter through the narrow way. The narrow way represents living a holy life before God and man. Paul describes his personal struggle in these words:

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV)

goalfor2016Striving does not mean that salvation is a product of human works. Salvation is by grace – enabling grace. This is described in Philippians 2:12-13 above. It is the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” In Luke 13:24, Jesus is warning us to leave behind all wrongdoing and evil. Christians are described as those people who strive, struggle, and strain to live a life glorifying to God. The true Christian is transformed a little more each day into the likeness of Christ. Christian men and women enter by the narrow way because they love to be in the presence of God.

Have you ever considered what percentage of your life has been useful to the kingdom of God? A Christian is commanded to walk in a way worthy of the calling to which he has been called. (Ephesians 4:1 ESV) John writes:

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6 ESV)

obediencetotheword_thumbStriving, struggling, and straining to live a holy life is a worthy goal and pleasing to God. Choosing to do the will of God is the right decision and it is God who will enable us to do it. It is our duty because each of us is commanded, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16 ESV) God’s grace and salvation is an incentive for gratitude and magnifies our desire to live a holy life. In this sense the narrow way is a representation of a way of life – the Christian life. Therefore, my fellow Christians, in this New Year let us be all the more diligent to make our calling and election sure by entering through the narrow way. (2 Peter 1:10 ESV)

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
(“Trust and Obey” by John H. Sammis)

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