“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.”
Christian blogs, magazines and even friends often offer advice on ways to improve ourselves so we can become “better” Christians. They list activities or actions that, if followed, could lead us closer to God. Although the advice comes from the heart and is meant for good, it often leaves out a key component of the change; the needed influence of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, many tend to analyze these suggestions, even if they are biblically sound, to decide whether to accept them or not. The Holy Spirit stimulates us to think of Jesus not ourselves.
We don’t become Christians unless God chooses us, and we don’t change unless the Holy Spirit transforms us. It is not about will power, but God’s power. Although God chooses whose eyes and hearts He will open, He does not take control over followers unless they allow it. Scripture tells us that we have choices including whether we want to follow Jesus or not. Being a Christ-follower requires a mindset that points to God. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans that we have to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (see Romans 12:2). We have to intentionally choose to become followers so that we can honour and glorify God. We have to purposefully seek to love God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength and we can’t do that without the Holy Spirit’s help.
There is an expression that states, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. God does not want us to imitate Jesus or flatter Him as flattery can also suggest an insincere act or word used to impress the recipient.
God wants our action to be sincere and pure.
God wants us to be as Jesus is.
When the Holy Spirit gets involved, our actions and behaviours should become Christ-like. They then should become immediate responses to the Holy Sprit’s activity in our lives, not responses motivated by our personal preferences of even a desire to please God or get something from Him. We do what is right to honour God.
During a gathering, referred to as “The Sermon on The Mount”, Jesus presented guidance on becoming His disciple. He spoke about disciple attributes but did not suggest these were steps or checkpoints we must achieve to climb a ladder to get to heaven. He proposes these as behavioural boundaries which guides us on a path that leads to God. A path that can become wide as we judge whether these words are relevant, whether we understand them, or even whether we agree with them. The wider we make the path the greater chance we have in missing the gate to life.
Our desire to be Christ-like should be for no reason
other than to seek and worship God.
We must look to scripture to find God’s boundary markers pointing to Him. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit as a guide and we must respond to His prompting. Prayer, reading scripture and responding to the Holy Spirit keeps us on the path to God.