Yesterday we approached a wildebeest walking with four warthogs (father, mother and two babies. The babies are so cute). We parked and watched for a while, and then as they moved on we continued driving. As we edged closer to them, the warthogs decided to go through a small gap in the fencing to a neighbouring farm and the wildebeest tried to follow! He tried by all means to enter through that small gap, but soon he realized to his disappointment that the hole in the fence was too small. It was not for his size, and he decided to walk off in the other direction to the valley.
All the animals found safety. The warthog family through a gap in the fencing to the neighbour’s farm and the wildebeest into the valley. On a game farm, there is nothing to fear as all the animals are protected and firearms are prohibited. This was very amusing for us … though it made me think of us Christians. Not every Christian can follow every other Christian, or every other person for that matter. When considering gates (holes), directions (escape to safety) and end results (safety through the fence or trotting off into the huge valley), Christians have limited options. Although mentioned recently, let’s consider the first gate. This is the Gospel Gate that leads to eternal life. All true believers have entered through this gate.
Mt 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The second gate I’ll call the Jesus Gate. Although alluded to in the Matthew passage above, John provides more information as we see at the end of verse 8:
Jn 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Not only is Jesus the Gospel Gate … He is the Gate to fullness of life! Believers live in this world. Once converted, we don’t miraculously depart to heaven. God saves us for heaven, but He saves us to serve Him on this earth. So we go into the world to work and serve the Lord Jesus and the Body of Christ and then we return to the safety of His comfort at home (and for some in our room or in the privacy of our hearts and minds). Surely that must be what “He will come in and go out, and find pasture” means. What a great comfort!
A third gate would be the Marriage Gate. The spouse we choose is extremely important. Marrying a Christian is not a “divorce-proof marriage”. Sadly, the divorce rate in our country compares to the USA with around 65% of people marrying these days getting divorced … and Christians are in that group. This means it is very important for believers to marry believers whom they know well, whom have complimentary personalities and characters, whom enjoy the same types of relaxation, holidays, family life, church life, etc. Just in case your spouse is not a believer, there is hope. Jenny and I were not Christians when we married. God saved us both a few months apart. Sometimes He saves only one, and this is where the believer must exercise a dedicated prayer ministry for the unbelieving spouse … seeking God to reach out in mercy, bringing salvation.
1Co 7:12 If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
A fourth gate is the Career Gate. It’s difficult to get work these days and many Career Gates require studies that include subject with questionable teaching (teaching that discredits the Bible). A sincere Guidance Counselor could help you find a Career Choice or Study Choice … but confirm this with godly Christians and even a pastor you know well. The bottom line is that as Christians we must not be unequally yoked in our career, the company we work for or our studies.
A fifth gate is the Friendship Gate. Close friends that are not believers cannot share the same ideals, morals and ethics you support as a believer in Jesus Christ, His Gospel and His Word. It is possible that they could cause you to drift away from Jesus as their worldview and yours are opposing because yours is Christ-Centered! I have found the following Scripture helpful to gauge my choices:
2Co 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
Always remember, the starting gate is the Gospel Gate, and every other gate taken must be based upon this gate because it alone is the Gate of Life.
Dear Loving God, Thank You for steering me through the Gospel Gate to eternal salvation. I know I am so loved and spoilt and blessed by You. Thank You for caring for me the way you do. Help me to be an asset in the Kingdom by choosing to go through gates that that are sanctioned by You through Your Word. I do so want to please You and live my life to please You, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.