Wide Open Places

“Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks.

Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)

In my Bible there is a new title between verses 12 and 13, as if Jesus was starting a new thought or had stopped for tacos and was now talking to new people. But that’s not what happened. Jesus didn’t take a break. Its the same crowd, the same message.

He continued saying,

“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 believe the early verses in chapter 7 were meant to provide context for the “Narrow gate,” “Narrow Road” verse. I also believe there is a misunderstanding about these verses that is alive and well in the church today. The narrow road is often taught as a warning. The verse is given and often followed up with a cautionary tale about some poor fella who fell off the “straight and narrow.”

I have met many believers who misinterpreted these verses as “try harder, do more” Christianity. Try harder do more Christianity insinuates that a good, holy, righteous life is difficult - nearly impossible. The narrow road has become a tight-rope balancing act with the believer living always one inevitable wrong thought or decision away from a tumble into the abyss of sin.

I didn’t sign up for a try harder do more Christianity. And I am not interested in walking tight ropes – I left that circus long ago.

The fact is, just before Jesus discusses the narrow road, he describes Gods overwhelming love, the goodness of our heavenly Father. He goes on to tell us that receiving and living in His goodness is as simple as asking.

After Jesus’ wonderful description of our access to heaven on earth, Jesus went on to tell us that He is the only way to our Heavenly Father. Jesus is the narrow gate; He is the narrow road. He is the good gift from a loving Father. He is the door, and its always opened. He is the answer and He always answers - He can always be found. The narrow gate/road is a decision - a decision to surrender, to say yes to the nature of God, to His love, and yes to entering the Kingdom of Heaven.

I believe that we enter through the narrow gate and His name is Jesus.  The life of a believer is not about a narrow works based existence, it’s not about trying harder or doing more: it’s a wide-open love affair. We aren’t called to a religious sterile form of self-help Christianity. We aren’t called to follow God on a tight rope; we are called to dream of wide-open places. We are created to know Love and personify it.

I believe we are called to the task of dreaming a Kingdom landscape His Kingdom, here on earth. And it’s a landscape “above and beyond” the possibilities of our imagination (Ephesians 3:20). Yeah, I know that doesn’t make sense. But that’s how big His Kingdom is, it’s bigger than we have the capacity to understand. And yet He invites us to try.

It’s the narrow gate/road that leads us to this landscape. And it’s through the “narrow” that we have access to dreams that are beyond our wildest imaginings. We are told to knock, to ask, to seek, because these are the actions of faith in which we discover the heart of our good Father.

I believe that through the “narrow” we enter a landscape that is every bit as epic as its Creator, a landscape where believers discover and claim the heart of their Father, their King, and then learn to dream His dreams.

Heaven – it’s the wide open places…

Our Father

I gave a message this week at our new church, Crossroads. Like all my messages, it was about becoming sure in our Fathers love. The topic was our devotional life. I shared that when we know our Dad, devotions aren't something we do, it's something we become. We arent living a checklist or try harder gospel. We are called to know His love and become love. I thought this blog fit well with the message. I have posted a link to the video HERE. I hope to have an mp3 downloadable version on my website in the coming week.