Sunday, March 20, 2011

When we stand at the crossroads

When we stand at the crossroads

By Kevin Probst

“There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it's easy.” I don’t know the author of this quote but he/she expresses skillfully the idea that sometimes we come to a crossroads in life and we simply choose one way over another because it will bring us less discomfort, it’s the easy way. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” Choices are available to us. We are responsible for our own success or failure because we are free to make a choice. We too often choose the easy way, the way of least resistance, the way that most everyone else is taking. Unfortunately, the easy way usually leads to failure. Those who seek the way that leads to Christ, the way that leads to a deeper relationship with God, the way that leads to heaven, choose a way that is not an easy way.

When Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to life and broad is the way that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13-14) he was saying that the way of Christ is narrow and difficult. It’s not easy to choose Christ. There will be ridicule, there will be persecution. Jesus commended those who were willing to endure hardship for his sake, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10) It’s easy to choose the way that leads to sin and destruction. This way is broad and easy to travel and there are far more people who choose the easy way to destruction rather than the more difficult way to holiness.

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest till stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1) If you find yourself at the crossroads today, don’t miss it. This is too important. This is your future. A decision you make today will determine your destiny for all of eternity.

Many have heard the gospel but “the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” (Hebrews 4:2) Choosing the more difficult way is often fearful. That’s why it must be accompanied by faith. We need faith in the grace of God to overcome our fear of failure. We must believe in the power of his blood, in the comfort of his Spirit, in the truth of his word and the surety of his promise. “Now we who have believed enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:3)

But most do not enter the rest made available through Christ Jesus. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:7)

Agrippa hardened his heart when he came to the great crossroads of his life. “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Almost you persuade me to be a Christian.’” (Acts 26:28) ‘Almost’ will surely be a one-word theme for many who spend an eternity in a hell without God.

Thomas was at a crossroads when he said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” (John 20:25) Surely no one dies without having some sort of revelation from God. There is an opportunity for all to recognize him. There is a moment in every life when he stands at the door waiting for an opening into every heart. Many come to this crossroads in their lives and they refuse Christ. Maybe someone is experiencing that moment as they read these words?

Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (Acts 20:27) Thomas then replied to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” (Acts 20:28)

Joshua stood at a crossroads when he opposed the 10 other spies at Kadesh. God has presented the children of Israel an opportunity to enter the Promised Land and find rest. They were fearful of the giants in the land and they made what seemed to be an easier choice. They shied away from hardship and battle with a formidable enemy. But Joshua saw things differently. Joshua captured the theme of his life in his last words: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:25)

God invites us to a rest, to something deeper, He doesn’t want an engagement, he wants a marriage. There is a fork in the road. The pathway of holiness looks attractive indeed but this pathway is not well worn. There doesn’t seem to be great crowds and multitudes traveling this way. Enjoying he sanctified life requires that we knock down the gate of fear. The fear of what my spouse or my family will think. The fear of being pegged as a religious fanatic. The fear that my friends will ostracize me.

There is a cost when we choose the more difficult way. It will cost you….EVERYTHING. There are no special deals or discounts when it comes to the purchase of our souls. Christ paid the price and he demands the whole product. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be (radically) transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

The right path to take is the more difficult path. When we are overcome by our own fears and weaknesses God provides us with courage and strength: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

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