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Daily Scripture Reading – Isaiah 32
Verse of the Day – Matthew 7:13
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
It seems these days that everyone wants to take the easy way. There are diet programs that claim that you can lose a lot of weight in no time with no effort – just pop a pill. Who needs to exercise when you can pay a plastic surgeon? Who has to watch what they eat when a doctor can simply remove most of your stomach? Why work when you can win the lottery? Why put forth the effort when you can sit back and get what you want through deception and fraud? Who wants to work hard? We all want it easy! The easier the better.
Think about it. We have fast food and get impatient with microwave ovens. Nothing really takes much time or effort any more. We can get the best now for less. We can buy now and pay later. We can have it all right now. Why delay gratification?
No wonder then there are those who want to make going to heaven easy! Of course, that means easy from a fleshly and fallen standpoint. While we may understand that the gospel is truly simple, we tend to make it much more difficult than it has to be and in doing so we find people leaning toward taking the easy way out. Whether it is universalism, or the false notion that we are all basically good, or a myriad of other demonic doctrines, we seem to think that lies are easier to trust than the truth.
We should not be surprised though because Jesus did tell us that the easy road, the broad way, the wide path leads to destruction. And many find it, walk it, and follow it to its end. Taking it easy all the while going the wrong way.
Nothing that is worth anything is ever easy! As Spurgeon stated,
All that befalls us on our road to heaven is meant to fit us for our journey’s end. Our way through the wilderness is meant to try us, and to prove us, that our evils may be discovered, repented of, and overcome and that thus we may be without fault before the throne at the last. We are being educated for the skies and for the assembly of the perfect. What we shall be does not yet appear because we are struggling up towards it. The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.
But still, we long for peace, for comfort, for ease. We think we deserve heaven. We believe that we are owed a good life. But the easy road is a one way street to destruction.
It is very interesting to think that so many people around us believe that they are going to heaven when they die. Sure there are the diehard (no pun intended) atheists, agnostics, and pagans. But when asked in a poll recently, 89% of people responding stated that they believe in heaven and 75% think they will go to heaven when they die. Heaven after all should be easy, right?
And there is also evidence that suggests to us that while we believe in heaven surely hell is a myth made up to scare people into submission. After all, other polling data tells us that many more people believe in heaven than in hell. What a tactic! What propaganda! The devil will work overtime to make people believe they are going to heaven no matter what they believe or do and at the same time he will convince them that there is no such place as hell and no punishment for sins. Politicians would sell their souls to have such gifted spinners.
Let us look at these lights along the broad way. What do we see along the sides of the road? Signs that tell us “This Way” for a good time! “Turn Here” for health, wealth, and happiness. Only a few more miles and then we can retire in ease without a care in the world. Sin matters not. God never said anyone would go to hell. There is no hell. Sin is not sin, it does not displease God. No, what many call sin is really just a disease, an addiction, a mistake, a failure, a character flaw, a weakness. It is not your fault. You are good. You are right. You know the truth. You are okay. God loves you!
But lest we are lulled into a false sense of security this is what we know for a FACT – to take the easy way out is to walk straight into doom. For all the jokes and misconceptions about hell and the devil what we often miss is that it is the easy, flesh pleasing, sin nature pampering life that ends in torment, in fire and darkness, in solitude, suffering forever under the wrath of God.
And remember, some would say that hell is being separated from God, but that is not true. Destruction in the lake of fire is suffering from the absence of God’s mercy. But He is there, pouring out His wrath on sinners. And all that keeps one from this easy way out is the sinless life and atoning death of Jesus Christ – where it was He who bore the wrath upon Himself for us. Repentance and faith in Him secures the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life. And to follow Christ is to shun the easy way for a better Way.
So remember that the easy way, the “natural” choice often leads quickly to destruction. That which is worth dying for is all that is truly worth living for. And while living a life of obedience may be hard, it is not impossible for we have His grace given freely to us so that we might endure.
May we continue to reject the broad way. May we press on through the narrow gate. As we will learn tomorrow, the narrow gate leads to life! But there are few that find it for too many would rather take it easy. In light of eternity, which is actually more easy? Serving self as a slave of sin, or serving God as a slave of Christ? That which is truly easy runs contrary to our fallen nature. Don’t allow your flesh and emotions to confuse you – it is by taking the hard way that we grow in grace and grow closer to our Savior. The easy path only serves to take us away from Him and toward our own undoing.
Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)
Bible Reading For Further Study
Psalm 73:12; 123:4; Amos 6:1; Zech 1:15
Psalm 9:17; 55:15; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 15:24; 27:20