Living with the End in View involves
Striving to Enter
Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from.’ ” (Luke 13:23–25)
In what way are we to strive? What makes this gate worth contending for? The illustration of the Master of the house gives us a clue. A Master will shut a door, preventing people from entering who wish to enter. They will defend themselves with, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.”
Their case for admittance is a casual acquaintance with Him. Eating and drinking with guests is the Middle-Eastern token of friendship. But it is only a token. We have enjoyed Bible teachings week by week in sermons, the Internet, or in our private times in the Word. When we were left unresponsive to Christ, they were only tokens of our interest.
Jesus rejects tokens of lukewarm affection that avoid any commitment to faith in Him. He will say, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.” The narrow gate leads to communion with Christ. Few find it because they are taken up with religion, not relationship; a cause, not Christ; physical leisure, not spiritual liberty. They choose self-indulgence over self-discipline.
Jesus wanted His hearers to strive to enter the gate. Too many of us quit striving after we have initially confessed Christ as Lord and Savior. Christ never meant us to rest in the theological term saved. He meant for us to strive to enter into all that it meant. How can I say I am truly saved if I rejoice in the world more than heaven, love my sin more than the Lord, and am led by my physical drives more than the Spirit?
Therefore the Cross, saying no to the flesh’s leadership to let Christ rule, is the way through the gate. I find almost no books on the Cross being published today. As a result, many Christians live as the homeless in cardboard shacks, unaware of the fabulous wealth awaiting them in their spiritual bank accounts.
When we put our interests aside and take up the interests of God from the heart, it is because we are learning to die to the carnal nature and go on in the life of Christ (Rom. 6). We have found the joy of service in love, not grudging obligation. “And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).
When does the striving cease? When the gate of love has been entered. The Lord is looking for the fruit of love. When we can serve in love from faith, work is no longer work.
The narrow gate leads into the freedom from the law to serve Christ from love. What keeps you from entering the gate that leads to a deeper salvation of communion, peace, and joy with Christ? Through the Spirit’s regenerating work, we may say with King David, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God” (Ps. 42:1).
Living with the end in view is to plunge toward the narrow gate in our passion for God
Steps of faith:
Consider what hinders a deeper intimacy with Christ in the areas of prayer, the Word, worship, and fellowship.
Consider taking steps that reflect a true pursuit of Christ, a commitment to enter the gate.