10 May 2017
First Up, Desire Me! (Part 1 of a Series on Truths About Life Behind The Narrow Gateway)
Feature Verse: Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
Broader text for your meditation: Matthew 16:21-26
This Week’s Truth Turn Up! is the first of a devotional series that I have titled, “Truths about life behind The Narrow Gateway”. Over the last couple of months, on my various platforms, I have dedicated a few posts to explaining W.I.T.N.G: What Is The Narrow Gateway? In short, life behind the narrow gateway is a life that seeks to be dedicated to the passionate pursuit of what I like to call “the God-life”. It’s a mind-set that acknowledges that we have been saved by grace into a glorious liberty that is life in Christ, and because our freedom was fought for and bought with incorruptible things, how else can we as Christians respond to this God-sized love, except by seeking to fervently embracing His kingdom like the pearl of great price that it is?
I lean heavily on some bits from Lisa Bevere’s book, ‘Without Rival’ when I say that “In this life where there is so much static, the vibrant, unrivalled God-life that you seek, the umphh to dive into your gifts and to be part of unlocking solution spaces in the world, will not be found by way of casual pursuit. It requires concentrated commitment and intense focus in a world brimming with distractions. If you are not intentional, you will be diverted by the many distractions that vie for your attention.”
But how do we as Christians attain to that place where we are no longer satisfied with just being spectators, commentators and fans of Christ and other Christians for that matter? How do we emerge to being partakers of that God-life, intently pursuing intimacy with Christ and transformation into His image? I believe that the first step on this journey is DESIRE. Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 16:24, if anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Now, I recently heard a speaker who was teaching on the Holy Spirit say that for many of us, the problem is not that we do not know these truths about life behind the narrow gateway. The problem is rather that we just do not want it badly enough. That gets me because it is so true and I see it play out in my life from time to time. Many of us know all about what our lives would look like if we were really all about that God-life. But it all just feels like too much hard work, too much of a distraction from (apparently) more fun and compelling things, like all the other stuff that’s going on in our lives.
So now what? Does this mean that for those who are not always floating around, constantly desiring more and more of God, does it mean that we are out of the game? Stuck on the periphery of abundant life in Christ? Never again to be able to transition from being spectators to being partakers? No. We serve a God who has got big shoulders! He knows and understands where we are at, and trust me, He can take it. That’s why He invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Basically, you can be real with God about the fact that you just do not crave that God-life like you should. And you can ask God to work in your heart so that you desire a more dedicated relationship with Him. For it is God that is at work in you, giving you the desire and power to do what pleases Him. (Philippians 2:13). So don’t feel condemned, like you first have to qualify yourself and get rid of all your “inner stuff” before you can approach the narrow gateway. No. All the Lord is looking for is a broken spirit and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). And even if you don’t yet feel you have these in place, you can still cry to the Lord and ask Him to work in you a desire for a life of unrivalled pursuit of God. Because in any event, it is God that works that desire in you and gives you the power to enter by the narrow gateway.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, today is full of great hope for me because I now know that there is so much more depth to this Christian walk, and You are waiting for me to plunge in. I also have hope in the knowledge that even at times when I really just do not want it badly enough, I can be real with you and cry out to You for grace and help, for You alone can work in me a true and sustained desire to follow Christ behind the narrow gateway. So I am asking You Lord for help. I desire to desire more of You. I no longer want to be a spectator, or a commentator, or even a fan of the God-life. I want to be a partaker. Lord, You see me as I am. I am so far from perfect. But I come anyway, knowing that You will not despise my broken and contrite heart. I thank You Lord for what You are doing in my life. I thank You Lord for this glorious liberty that is life behind the narrow gateway!
Let’s have a last word:
On next week’s Truth Turn Up! I will be sharing what I believe is the next step to entering by the narrow gateway. Till then, please take time to meditate on Matthew 16:21-26 and ask God to really reveal His Word to you about the way of unrivalled pursuit of the God-life. Also start to think of ways to get intentional and purposeful about that focus. Now, if despite everything we have shared today, you still do not feel the desire to enter by the narrow gateway, do not let this spell the end of your journey. God’s shoulders are broad. He can take it! So go ahead and keep telling Him about how you feel, or what you don’t feel; keep asking Him to stir your heart and convict your spirit, so that the desire for more of Him will arise in you.