Scriptures like in this world we will have trouble is not new to most of us. But somehow this morning, I felt like Matthew 7:14 came alive, and I was seeing it through a new lens. It says, narrow is the gate, and DIFFICULT is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it. I was thinking, that this was a direct message that we must not ignore, because it is like a prophetic warning of our future walk as we begin to take the gospel into the world, and we must recognize that it is speaking to each of us individually.
I like watching World of Dance and The X Factor. The one thing the finalists would mention is how hard it is, and the pressure that is on them every week to perform at a greater level than the week before. This always inspires and reminds me that the work I must do will take more effort at times, and I must be prepared to always go the distance. Well, we Believers are like finalists, that must get better and better at understanding the Kingdom that we are taking to the world, because we need the world to understand that the Kingdom is their only hope for eternal life.
As the Holy Spirit opened my understanding, I paused & meditated on the idea of the difficulties we will face in our salvation walk. But at the same time, I was reflecting and taking an inventory of those that our Beloved Savior endured during His 3-year ministry, because of tremendous stress and persecution. This is not a comprehensive list.
- Jesus studied for hours from an incredibly young age.
- Scripture tells us that His own brothers did not support Him and that He was rejected in His hometown.
- He felt compassion for the people and faced constant opposition with others when He performed healings. And even though His many works spoke for itself, some struggled with His fame, calling Him a worker of satan.
- He worked long hours & could not get a break as people kept looking for Him because of their needs. Still, we never saw Him complaining or refusing to help others because He felt exhausted.
- He healed everyone that came, and the numbers were vast. But many of them were opportunists who went away after they received their healing, never changing their hearts concerning God.
- He felt the emotional impact of those who rejected His message, and was sadden because He knew that those who remained lost would be eternally punished.
- He had to complete His assignment even though they continuously persecuted Him and looked for every opportunity to kill Him.
- He faced extreme envy, jealousy and was constantly questioned by those who deceptively tried to trick Him through His responses.
- Many of His supporter’s motives were impure, they were drawn to Him because they benefited from what He did.
- Jesus struggled for a moment, as he made a heart-rendering plea to the Father about a possible release from completing His work. But His will was to please the Father, so He finished His assignment.
- He was betrayed by one, and the rest of His inner circle followers fled as He was being arrested, leaving Him alone in His worst moment.
- One of His closest disciple that He took everywhere, denied that he knew Him 3 times.
- He was treated like a common criminal in the hands of those that hated Him.
- He was rejected by His people; those that followed and were made well by Him. They asked for a known criminal to be released instead of Him, calling for His crucifixion.
This list does not contain all the things Jesus faced during ministry, nor all the suffering He encountered from the arrest up till the crucifixion. No one who loves Jesus could consider His suffering and not be moved by it, except yearly, during the Easter or Resurrection season.
Today I am faced with the reality that we carry the Kingdom in us. And like Jesus, we must take it to those who need it despite the challenges we may have to face. This tells us that none of us are spectators but should be working towards one common goal, and we are to increase awareness of the Kingdom by confidently telling others about its benefits. One of our goals must be about expanding the Kingdom membership, not for the Kingdom’s sake, but because the alternative is unthinkable for those who are lost.
The more we expand our knowledge about the Kingdom the greater our influence when we speak to others about it. And although we may face the things Jesus faced or worst, we must endure while we take the Kingdom to the world. God’s will must become food to us like Jesus’ work was to Him. And remember, our ultimate sacrifice to accomplish our work must become our greatest passion as it did for Jesus. Only then would we have made a difference.