The Narrow Path of Life
The Lord Jesus says, "without Me, you can do nothing (John 15:5)." This is the main dividing line between the path of life and the path of knowledge and gifts.
This is what we have seen with our own eyes and have personally experienced: all that which was done withoutthe Lord is but wood, hay and straw. On the surface, it could appear to be very great, prosperous, active and successful; yet, it had no real spiritual value and could not withstand trials. That was why even Satan did not care to pay any attention (Job: 1:8; Dan. 10: 12-13).
I encourage and alert myself and others in the Lord with the following facts. Those on the path of knowledge and gifts depend on theirown wealth of intelligence, competence, knowledge, methods and skillfulness to accomplish a great deal through their own enthusiasm, planning, thinking, goal-setting, funding and "recruiting", etc. All these they do without seeking the Lord's will. Nor do they constantly humble themselves with fear before the Lord to seek His grace. Outwardly, they also pray and seek, all but routinely. In reality, however, they are motivated by their own desires and ambitions, their own goals and their own strength, eventually attributing glory and success to themselves (see Rom. 11:36). How tragic it is that this is the type of people who will claim before the judgment seat, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And cast out demons in your name? And done many wonders in your name?" In return, the Lord will rebuke, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you that practice lawlessness" (See Matt. 7:21-23). May the Lord have mercy on us.
Thank God that during the trials we also noticed some brothers and sisters who, despite numerous failures, were gradually enlightened by the Lord through His grace and mercy. (Fire can light up and burn up or purify.) In the midst of persecution and trials, they humbly knelt down before the Lord's feet for Him to open their eyes. Why was it that certain well known preachers with sound biblical knowledge, eloquence and sizable churches and congregations fell? " and fell so badly as to cause many others to stumble? On the contrary, why did some, who were simply ordinary servants or maids with no impressive academic and social backgrounds, fame or high ideals and who had never written any books, were able to remain faithful throughout the trials and to shine through, despite torture and life-risks? What is the deciding factor? Thank God that those members eventually realized that it was the type of path they had been taking. In other words, some took the wide gate and the broad way while some took the small gate and the narrow wayof life.
We need the Lord's grace because no one can follow the Lord on his own. To walk the narrow way of life, we need to depend on the Lord every step of the way. If we depend on ourselves, we are bound to fail. Were it not for the mercy and grace of the Lord, those who were accustomed to depending on themselves (their power, talents and money, etc.) would not have let go of their hands to instead depend on and trust the Lord. When all is well, it is easy for us to speak of trust and dependence. However, once confronted with difficulties and trials, we immediately lose our peace and fail to depend on and trust the Lord (Luke: 8:24-27).
The Bible tells us, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me" (Phil. 4:13); "in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37). To trust and depend on the Lord is the most important lesson for Christians. It is the Christians" lifeline and the substance of abiding in Christ. We need to practice it constantly, and be led by God to the realization that, apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). It is regrettable, however, that churches nowadays have so many ways, tactics and capabilities that they are doing things apart from the Lord!
May God have grace on us that we may know how to truly and humbly depend on Him daily in this crooked and perverse age. Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, for they shall not be put to shame. We need to accept what Jeremiah said, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes, but its leaf shall be green; and shall not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit" (Jer. 17:7-8). May we, by God's grace, be like this tree rooted by the river. May God bless all brothers and sisters. May these words of sharing provide not merely knowledge of the Truth but rather practical lessons in looking to God' s mercy. With the Lord"s words deeply implanted in our hearts, may we, from now on, know how to seize every moment to follow the Lord.