You had better walk the straight and narrow!
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Most of us have been told, heard or read the phrase “walk the straight and narrow” used in reference to cleaning up ones life or keeping oneself on a more “acceptable” path in life. From cradle to grave we live and we learn, we mature and “grow up.” Most of us go through the most rebellious times of our lives during our teenage years, no harm no foul, even though some of us might take little longer to “fully develop”. A similar thing happens when we become Christians (born again), but I am afraid that as spiritual guardians of newborn believers it is here where we (the church body) have become lacking. Why are there so many denominations, why is there pain and suffering, which Bible should I read, what about the dinosaurs, what about evolution, how could Adam see stars his first night, what happened after the book of Acts? Paul asked the Corinthians to be on the same page (1 Corinth 1:10), but it seems fairly obvious from the number of denominations today that we are too divided and seldom do we work together. Maybe in american politics, but that can quickly give the wrong impression if you ask me.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge… (Hosea 4:6)
When I finally decided to follow Christ and get baptized the church I was going to required all those requesting to be baptized to take a class on what water baptism is and what it entails. Likely because they found a lot of people misunderstanding the purpose behind baptism – An outward show of faith and commitment to becoming a disciple of Jesus. I thought it was kinda neat this church would not let anyone move forward without knowing what it meant. Water baptism is not required for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), but neither should people be expected to stay ignorant on its purpose. This educational class on baptism, however, is where it ended. No one took me by the hand and showed me how to be an effective Christian (figuratively speaking). When my friends had good questions on topics the Bible was not specific on I had no clue on where to find the answers. The first thing that came to mind was not my church. What happened after Babel? Can we still heal people? How? Why don’t I see it more often? Tongues? Do not just tell me yes or no I want a straight answer. There was never so much zeal in my life than when I committed myself and there was no one who knew a thing about anything. On the topic of evolution tell me if some of you have not heard this one from a pastor, “Well, I don’t know, but it says 1,000 years is like one day and one day like a 1,000 years.” That verse is describing how time is of no relevance to God, has no bearing by itself on a 7 day creation week, and an empty answer. It would be much easier to say, “I do not know.” The unsaved see straight through ignorance and many are driven away just by that.
It has been my experience that many “fresh off the press” born again believers have a tremendous zeal lifting them high up on a pedestal before coming back down to Earth. I have a friend who recently stopped talking to me because of this zeal. After my friend got baptized I was too “ungodly” for him. Little did he know the entire time I am thinking, “Dude! You know God sent my family to this country for You!” Personally I am not stressing over my friend treating me like a heathen or one of the “common folk” because I know the reason behind it and I know gravity pulls even the most puffed up heads down over time, but there must certainly be many unsaved who feel offended when someone who used to be “one of them” suddenly becomes God holier than thou incarnate and everyone, including the dog, is going to hell for the smallest infraction. It is my impression that most churches today are more worried about souls going to heaven than how they live their lives on earth. Jesus told us before he left to make disciples of all the earth (Matthew 28:19) and not to simply “get people saved”. We are to be a light to the world guiding lost souls to the redemptive power of Christ, but we are also told to do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15 ). I have heard too many times non believers claiming they felt religion shoved down their throats.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (Romans 13:13)
I can not remember the exact time I personally accepted Christ in my life, I grew up in the church, but I do remember when I got baptized and committed my life to following Him. My decision to get baptized came about ten years ago and since that time I have grown and learned a lot; I have learned an invaluable amount of information that would have helped me immensely when I first began this journey. In the “Ye are the light of the world” verses we are supposed to “Show the light” and not “If they don’t like it, then stick the candle right between their eyes!” Right? People don’t like it. Just sayin. We should be more careful on how we present the gospel. Sowing seeds is plural and while there are some souls ready for harvest there are likely many who are just not ready. They need more pricks in their heart. There should be some type of system setup in every church parenting and guiding its newborn members. You don’t just pop the baby out and leave it to itself. God will take care of His own, yes, but sometimes He expects us to do some of the work. For newborn believers to feel like they are on cloud 9 is not something abnormal, these people just had all their sins forgiven, and most come back down in time, but a little bit of guidance on how to present the gospel might go a long way.
The KJV Bible (’nuff said)