Friday, 31 October 2014

Striving through the Narrow Gate means to Shun All Treasure on Earth: There are no exceptions

Mammon has a way of causing conflict and war. He is very cunning and deceptive in doing so. He is behind all conflict, war, dissention and hatred. He does this for a very key reason - to cause people to feel more envy and jealousy, holding them to even greater bondage to serving him or yielding to his temptation. The last thing he wants people to know is that his aim is to deceive people into thinking that their perceived earthly needs are legitimate, making them enslaved to pursuing the earthly rather than the heavenly treasure. This is especially the case with the Christians.

Mammon wants Christians to think they are striving for the heavenly treasure when they are in fact striving for earthly treasure. Jesus commanded: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (Matthew 6:19-20).  Many Christians do not really understand what it means. They try to find some middle ground to it, arguing that one can obey God, and God will give one many blessings. 

Many in the modern church do not ask God for blessings - they demand blessings as if God had to give them what they wanted on their terms, rather than on Him terms. How can one speak to God like that? These Christians treat God as though he has some kind of obligation to give them their "basic needs" when they obey Him, and they don't realise! They said in response to rebuke about their focus on the earthly that "God promises to give us your basic needs". No where does the Bible say this! In fact, the truth is the opposite.

Jesus said: "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Luke 9:58). Jesus was referring to how even the foxes and birds have earthly security, but He, the Son of God, does not. Jesus makes it clear to His followers that they are not of this world, and will be hated and persecuted. He said: "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also" (John 15:20). Persecution, trials, temptation and tribulation is a promise to the true follower of Christ. It is not a possibility that he was warning about, but a promise.

To follow Jesus, one must give up all attachment to earthly security and treat it as worthless. Many in the modern church think this means to literally sell of your home and starve oneself to death, to make oneself poor. God never promises to keep Christians away from physical poverty. God never promises to keep Christians away from lifelong illnesses. Luke 9:59-62 tells us:

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
To be fit for the kingdom of God, one must be prepared to give up everything one has - one's possessions, freedom, aspirations, visions, dreams and desires. Absolutely everything. Jesus also said: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). 
The true follower of Christ should not only have no attachment to earthly things - he should shun all his dreams, aspirations, visions and desires to strive for heavenly treasure. This is what it means to strive to enter in at the strait gate (Luke 13:24). Jesus warned that for many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24). Striving through the narrow gate means that one need to agonise to do so. 
One needs to crucify one's flesh, deal with the world, and also opposition within the church to one's efforts to evangelise, teach or minister. One needs to deal with conflict and disunity within the church which can really hinder one's evangelism, as I have experience. One needs to deal with criticism from other Christians for one's "approach" to evangelism and teaching on issues that the church does not want to deal with, one of which is mammon. One also needs to be strong and resist the devil who tries to bait servants of God, and trap them into sin. 
So, the Christian needs to shun all things that are earthly by hating mammon. The Christian needs to be prepared to live in poverty, be thrown in jail for serving God, and suffer for Christ. He also needs to prepare for die for Christ. 
God never promises the Christian that his "basic needs" will be provided. Such is a lie from the pits of Hell!