As I have shared in the past, Christina and I operate off of a really tight budget. This means we have to say “no” to certain things and be very intentional about how we spend how money. It can be hard and discouraging at times. If I am being honest, sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out on certain things.
However in the end, much more comes out of having the budget than bad. We don’t argue about money, we have savings when things go wrong and don’t have to stress about it, and we can go on vacations without wondering how we are going to pay for it.
Budgeting isn’t always fun, but it’s worth it. Like most things in life worth accomplishing, it’s hard in the moment but more than worth it in the end.
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is Jesus’ most famous sermon. In it he shares the beatitudes, talks about things like lust, anger, divorce, and this is also where we get the Lord’s prayer.
The major theme throughout the Sermon on the Mount is that Jesus is after our hearts. It isn’t behavior modification where we try to do good things so God will love us. Though God certainly cares about our actions, what matters most is our hearts. Why we do what we do, not just what we do.
And after all of this towards the end of his message, Jesus shares a sobering truth that our culture today certainly would condemn.
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
In some ways, it would actually be easier if Jesus gave us a checklist of do’s and don’ts and didn’t ask for our hearts. Because then we could go around “doing” the stuff we were supposed to do, and not really care about God himself or his desires for us.
In essence we could fake it and still care mostly about ourselves.
And this is why the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, because Jesus wants our hearts. Which means we have to put God’s desires before our own. Thankfully his desires actually bring us more joy, but just like trying to follow our budget, in the moment putting him first can be hard.
If the God you believe in never challenges any of your presuppositions or beliefs about things, it isn’t God you believe in, but yourself. This is why following Jesus isn’t easy, because there are things God says and does that I don’t always understand.
But ultimately, his road leads to life, and in the end there is nothing more important than that.