Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
I have been thinking about this verse a lot lately. I was watching the way different types of believers interact with each other and wondering why some feel they must force everyone around them to believe exactly as they do and follow them in submission to any whim of their thinking. It’s actually shocking and very disturbing behavior. It’s not unique, however, it’s something I have encountered during my entire walk with God.
One day while considering this behavior I had a vision. I saw those types of believers criticizing others who follow Holy Spirit and then I saw the far left liberals criticizing the same group and from both sides I felt pressed…..All of the sudden God said, “This is one thing that makes the road narrow”
Those who don’t believe in God have never really changed. They are doing the same things and using the same tactics. They are loud and forceful and brazen. The controlling pharisee believers are also still the same. The same behavior that led the pharisees to crucify Jesus, is the same behavior they use today to try to end moves of the Holy Spirit. They are loud and forceful and controlling. That is NOT Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit, in my experience has been very gentle, and has always given me free will. Holy Spirit has always led me with peace, and when I surrender to Holy Spirit, I die to my need to be right. I instead walk in the shadow of His wings and let Him validate what I do.
I follow a God Who wants to have a one on one, personal relationship with me. He wants me to learn to listen to His voice. I endeavor to speak out only when He prompts me to do so. To use self control and not interfere when He is working in someone else’s life.
I often see this when I am dealing with my children. One way I am currently growing, is in allowing my kids to have more freedom to make mistakes and more opportunities to learn how to listen to His voice. They need to know Him. This world is so noisy, and I must equip my children with the wisdom to stop, listen to God, and learn how to discern a truth from a lie. I see this as a large part of my role as a parent. I also see that I cannot step into every disappointment or hard time that my kids experience. In fact, God has told me in several circumstances to not interfere when they are wronged by someone. He did allow me to encourage them privately, and then pray with them, but He wanted them to learn how to deal with negativity on their own. It is a hard thing to do, but I have seen the fruit of Him using each instance to speak His truth to their heart! How humbling it was to see that He was trying to use a bad situation in their lives in order to bring them closer to Him. (And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28)
Imagine if I had not listened and instead done what comes easy…..step in and “make it right”….It wouldn’t have been right at all! These are lessons that I will NEVER forget.
God has repeatedly reminded me that I am to be NO ONES Holy Spirit….HE alone is Holy Spirit.
It is so important to frequently assess our own hearts and our true motives. That can only be done in the quiet place.
Take some time today and ask God to examine your heart. Invite Him in to see if there is any offensive way in you. Be willing to see. Don’t let condemnation come in. When His light shines, even on our faults, it is filled with peace, and true repentance feels like joyful release. Let Him soak into that deep, deep place that His light has been unwelcome to enter and begin to feel Him transforming you. Look for peace. Once you have reset, ask Him what He likes about you. And when He begins to gush about His affection for you…..believe it. Write it down and leave your secret place with renewed perspective of the Father’s heart for you.
(It’s so good to ask God to show you any ugliness inside of you….but it’s equally important to ask Him to show you the good too.)
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139: 23-24