Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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How narrow the gate and constricted the road...

How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. (Matthew 7:14)

Exercise isn’t always fun. There are days when we just don’t feel like doing what we need to do to keep fit. It can tire us out, and sometimes it can even be painful, if we’re out of shape. But knowing the benefits of exercise can motivate us to keep going. It helps us lose weight, prevents disease, reduces stress, improves our mood, and boosts our energy level. Paradoxically, the people who don’t make the sacrifice to exercise often feel worse, and their bodies wear out faster.

That paradox is one way to look at Jesus’ teaching on the “narrow” or “constricted” road. This image can seem foreboding when we focus on how tough the road is. That’s why it’s always better to focus on where this road is leading us: to joy and freedom. When we choose to keep walking the narrow road, we become more free, not less. By contrast, the easy, wide road takes us away from God and leaves us feeling more empty and hopeless.

We know what it’s like to face a “narrow” gate—a choice to pray or not, to serve or not, to forgive or not. Making the harder choice may not appeal to us at first, but like exercise, it will benefit us in the end. When we exercise our legs, they get stronger. When we exercise forgiveness, our mercy becomes stronger. Little by little, the daily choices we make for God are making us more like him.

As you encounter those “narrow gate” choices today, try to see them as opportunities. God does! He sees them as moments of grace to draw you closer to his side. You’re participating in the best fitness program that has ever existed—Jesus is making you fit for heaven! Every situation that comes your way is really part of his divine fitness package. Every exercise you go through brings you closer to your goal: Christ himself.

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