Choosing the narrow pathway is feeding our spiritual appetite, starving our carnal appetite and desiring the better part in pleasing God, not man.
A common perception about the parable of the prodigal son is that the story is all about the prodigal son. Jesus told this parable in response to the grumblings of the Pharisees and scribes who did not like that he was a friend to sinners. The point Jesus was trying to highlight was the haughty attitude and response of the older brother compared to the repentant homecoming of his wayward sibling.
As in the tragedy of Cain and Abel, again, there appears to be an air of injustice here; the father seems to have overly favored the younger son, in not only restoring him to the family but lavishing him with gifts and a celebration.
The key to the story is in the Father’s response to his angry older son, “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” At any time, the older son could have thrown a bash for his friends that the neighborhood would not soon forget. What was really eating at the older son was that his brother was not paying for his mistakes. He resented the grace that was extended to him and the unmerited favor that had come upon his life. The beauty of grace is that it is unearned and undeserved!
We all have had experiences where we were believing God for a healing, asking the Lord for provision, standing and waiting for a breakthrough without result; only to be regaled in church by the testimony of someone who sought the Lord for the same healing and the same provision, who seemingly got their answer overnight!
*** It is crucial that we learn to rejoice with those who rejoice!
If you have to say “Praise the Lord” through gritted teeth, do it! Learn to celebrate the breakthroughs, blessings and increases of others. Releasing your joy for someone else’s joy shows God you have faith that He will bless you too!
The saddest characteristic of the older son is that he lived in his Father’s house but the Father’s house was not in him! The wide path is strewn with those who live in God’s house, yet never really know him. It bears the footprints of those who have walked in their own self- righteousness instead of God’s righteousness. The younger son’s filthy clothes were exchanged for that of the Father’s.
Choosing the narrow path is guarding our hearts from pride, jealousy and self -righteousness.
Perhaps one of the simplest and straight forward parables Jesus told was about two sons who were asked to work in their Father’s vineyard. One son refused to go and later relented, while the second son agreed to go, yet never did the work. The obvious answer to Jesus’s question, “Which of the two did the will of his father?”, is the one who showed up and did the job!
James said that faith without works is dead. The bottom line to following the narrow road is showing up and doing the work! There is a popular song on Tik Tok used to enhance videos, in which the lyrics repeat, “I understood the assignment, I understood the assignment!”
*** Choosing the narrow path is clearly understanding your assignment and not allowing yourself to be distracted from it!
Before the parting of the Red Sea, God disconnected the children of Israel out from the Egyptians in a demonstrative way. Having experienced judgement along with the Egyptians, suddenly upon the fourth plague, the Israelites were spared destruction.
God differentiated between His Kingdom and the world’s kingdom. In Egypt, cattle and livestock were struck down and crops were destroyed. Locusts, hail, boils, blisters, darkness and finally the death of the first born were the lot of the Egyptians, but not those who lived in Goshen!
Rev. Jerry Savelle prophesied about this year of 2022, that people would either say “worst of times, worst of times” or “best of times, best of times.” God is making a distinction between Goshen and Egypt. The road is dividing. Goshen means drawing near; choosing the narrow road embodies drawing near to God, feeling his heartbeat, knowing Him like never before and being a reflection of His love and goodness.
The question is where are you going to live? In Goshen or Egypt?
Cain dealt with the choices in his mind. Esau dealt with the conflicts of his flesh. The older brother dealt with the choices of the heart. We are presented with two divergent roads. We must choose the narrow one, the one less traveled by, and then it will make all the difference!