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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Narrow Path to God

I tell single adults often, "The only reason that you are not married is because you have standards." These singles have come to me lamenting that they cannot find a mate. I assure them that this is a good thing. Anyone can be married very quickly if they will just lower their standards. However, once married, they still have to live with the person whom they have lowered their standards to.

Standards are values are established within us. They are values we choose. Two unethical parents can produce the most ethical child. An environment of thievery, cons and lies can still produce an honest and trustworthy individual. Nothing makes people choose their values. These values establish standards by which we live.

The lack of many things comes from having standards. More money, a bigger house and a new car are available to those who will lower their standards. There are many opportunities for those who will do that which is dangerous or illegal.

Yet, standards are a good thing. It is because of standards that we keep our word, are loyal to our spouses and can be trusted at our work. It is our standards that keep us who we are. It is our standards that reveal and make our hearts. It is those same standards which can give us joy even when things do not go as we would like.

Peter wept bitterly after denying Jesus because he had violated his standards. He was disloyal when loyalty was something he thought had been established. Judas hanged himself because he had gone below his own standard for thirty pieces of silver. There will be no greater disappointment in your life than when you lower what you considered to be a standard. It will hurt your heart.

Most of us know this pain. Some time we have done something to lower our standards. We have participated in things with others which did not meet our standards. We have felt badly. If we do these things often the pain will go away. Then, our standards will remain low. The fact that it we feel pain means that the value is still in place. We can build a wall around this value so that it cannot affect our lives. If something happens to open that wall the pain of all our violations fall upon us. The pain returns. The standard will either be re-established or we will repair the wall around our value.

Our hearts were built to accept the things of God. They were made for God's values to be placed within them. Those values have established a standard of living for us. We violate the image of God and therefore fall short of His glory when we violate those standards. It is called sin and, when recognized, is painful. It can make us feel worthless when God has established forever our value by giving His only Son as a sacrifice for us. We are immeasurably valuable to God. He has redeemed us from our violations.

Being true to these God-established values are the only way we have joy. This has been built into us. There is no peace without walking a path within God's values. That is what most people are looking for by staying away from these values. That is why they can't find it. That is why, after pursuing a licentious life. will seek to do good in the world. They will seek to feed the children, find clean water or fight disease for groups within the world. They are appealing to the values established by God. Yet, they many of them don't understand. They cannot simply have some values and leave out the others and walk with God.

The road to peace is a narrow path. It is one which God has established within us.

Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

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