The Narrow Way

Jesus said, that only a few enter through the narrow gate and walk along the narrow path that leads to life. The path to freedom is like a small mountain road with a steep cliff on one side and a roaring forest fire on the other. When we get to this crossroad we are tempted to either jump off the cliff or run into the fire. We rarely keep walking the narrow way on that small road. 

The devil tempts us to jump off the steep cliff, which is called “self.”
Imagine the exhilaration of sailing off that cliff. It looks good—if it didn’t, we wouldn’t be tempted by it—but it results in death. 

The forest fire is appealing because it is full of people running and doing in the name of religion. It looks good. It appears to be full of truth but it comes with conditions. Those conditions are contingent on my performance and they lack the grace that is available to me. 

They want me to follow the law to become a good person instead of following the law because God declares that I am a good and forgiven person. The tempter had used religion to replace relationship for centuries. Religion is always doing. Relationship trusts what Jesus has done. 

God’s word tells us that the law (legalism) kills but the Spirit gives life. 

2 Corinthians 3:6 He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

When we let the Holy Spirit lead and control our lives we will know how to win the battle of temptation and quickly recognize the lies of the enemy. 

The tempter will say, “Go ahead and do it. You know you want to. Everybody is doing it. You’ll get away with it. You deserve a break today. Since everyone else is having sex outside of marriage, you should too. God would want you to be happy, so go ahead and have sex with that person. God knows your heart. God loves you. Go ahead and have that affair with that married man, that younger girl, that person who gives you attention.” 

But if we give in to the tempter, he immediately changes roles and becomes the accuser, saying, “How can you call yourself a Christian? You will never get away with it. God might forgive one day but you should be ashamed of yourself. And don’t you dare forgive yourself even after God forgives you.”
These are well-rehearsed scripted words Satan uses in his arsenal of lies and deceptions that has tricked Christians for centuries. 

The struggle going on in our mind is similar to taking a walk along a narrow street that leads to a door through which we can see Jesus. 

Buildings line the narrow street and people pop their heads out of the doors and windows, tempting us and accusing us, saying, “You don’t believe this Christian garbage do you? Come on in with the rest of us and have a good time.” 

Defeated Christians pay attention to those voices. They believe the lies and readily give in to temptations. Then they sit in the street, their progress towards Christ, and spiritual growth has come to a complete standstill. God’s voice is drowned out by the voices of the deceivers

Less defeated Christians think they are fighting the good fight by dialoguing with the voices. They reply, “No, you’re not going to entice me. That’s not true. You can’t accuse me.”
The problem is they are letting the devil set the agenda. They are standing in the street. They are coming to Encounter. They’re serving, going to group, but they aren’t making any progress towards Christ and real freedom. 

Victorious Christians fix their eyes on Jesus and keep walking by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. They don’t pay attention to deceiving spirits and will not be distracted by them. At first the battle for the mind is intense, but as they continue walking by faith, the narrow path gets broader and broader and the mental assault becomes less as they draw closer to Christ. 

This is how you win ALL your battles in life and win the battle of temptation. This is how you win the spiritual battles in your life. This is how you fight the temptations in your life. 
This is why you choose “The Narrow Way,” each and every day. 

I hope you will join us at Encounter this Friday for a specific talk on how to do this personally in prayer. How do you pray “Warfare Prayers” over yourself and live in victory?  

Be Blessed and Encouraged

Bill Rieser
Encounter Pastor