God’s Kingdom Explained – Part II
Key Verse: Luke 14:23-24
Someone ask Him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail”.
Additional Reading: Luke 14:22-30
I want to follow up on the last thoughts of yesterday’s devotion.
Jesus said in Luke 14:24 that we should “work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom”. Is this a contradiction to the Apostle Paul’s words that our salvation is by faith and not be our works? No, there is no contradiction, only clarification!
An illustration of our relationship with God would be our relationship with our spouse.
A man and woman contemplating marriage never think of their relationship as a “deal they must earn”. They come to a place in their dating lives that they accept one another, believe in each other, and want to spend the rest of their lives together! However, whether they realize it or not, both must work hard for their relationship is to last for the rest of their lives.
So, it is with our relationship with Jesus. When a person starts to learn about Jesus for the first time, there is interest and curiosity. As this person continues to learn more and more, they realize they are believing in Jesus. It isn’t long before they ask Jesus into their lives and to forgive them of their sins. However, after that, they start to learn that that relationship, like all good relationships, is going to take work on their part!
There is another similarity of our relationship with our spouse and our relationship with Jesus that both bring wonderful rewards. Yes, both relationships do, indeed, make us work to keep them healthy, but it is not without rewards. If we work at our marriages correctly, they produce a home that is a haven for husband, wife, and children. A healthy home that provides a stability that every person needs in their life.
So, it is in our relationship with Jesus. As we work hard to keep our relationship healthy with Him, the Bible promises blessings now and in eternity. And that make all our efforts seem of little consequence compared to these blessings.
It’s interesting to me that the Greek word for our English phrase “work hard” is literally translated: “agonize, putting forth great effort”.
Jesus is painting the picture that our eternal destination is worth agonizing over! We are living in a world that fights against our beliefs. We fight against the evil one that wants to destroy our faith! Our own fleshly cravings will cry out to be satisfied, even when we know full well it is sinful!
In other words, to stay true to God, we must put forth great effort. It is a war to win, with God’s help!
Pray earnestly, study the Bible faithfully, and surround yourself with godly people! Never neglect the assembly of believers, we all need the encouragement!
Father, you deserve my best efforts to stay close to you! In Jesus’s Name, amen.