13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
We recently had a bit of a dustup at Psalm 27:4 Ministries; at one point, I thought it might even lead to a Paul and Barnabas-style split.
In hindsight, the issues at the heart of the disagreement were not necessarily salvation-related issues, but they were issues we both felt passionately (and differently) about nonetheless.
As I pondered the possibility of a ministry split, I considered that we, at some point, may be required to walk the narrow road alone.
I am at a point in my life where I want to go on with Jesus 110%–no more compromise, no more one-foot-in-the-world, one-foot-in-the-kingdom living. If a practice cannot be supported by scripture, then we should not engage in that practice.
If we are yoked up with those who believe otherwise, we may need to leave them behind.
Take Christmas, for example: After much research, I am convinced that Christmas is a holiday in which Christians should not participate. If you want to sing songs celebrating the birth of Christ all year long, that is fine. If you want to take time to re-read the biblical accounts of Christ’s birth, that is fine (in fact, I would recommend that you read them, and the entirety of scripture, multiple times throughout the year). But the tree, the mistletoe, the yule log, even the gift giving are all remnants of the original pagan celebration.
This will, of course, be a source of much contention between Christians. In fact, both in person and online, I have seen this topic absolutely inflame individuals. But, again, if we are seeking to be as pure and biblically accurate as possible, we should not accept the mixing of the profane and the holy (Leviticus 10:10; Ezekiel 44:23).
Nevertheless, some Christians will continue to be OK with this practice.
Let us consider tattoos for another example. Now–full disclosure–I have a tattoo. Honestly, I do not remember if I received the tattoo prior to knowing Leviticus 19:28, or if I just assumed that tattoos were acceptable because we were no longer under the Law. I now believe that God’s original reason and desire for not wanting His children to be “marked up” remain; furthermore, I believe, based upon scripture, that it is wrong for us to defile the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19). I now believe that getting a tattoo is tantamount to spraying graffiti on your church building or on your neighbor’s house. Most of us would not want to ruin our church building with graffiti; additionally, because our neighbor’s house does not belong to us, we recognize that it would be wrong, indeed, a crime, to vandalize their home. Similarly, our bodies belong to God, not ourselves; thus, we have no right to place markings upon them. At one point, I even wanted the name of Jesus tattooed over my heart; I now realize that we should not accept the mixing of the profane and the holy.
Nevertheless, some Christians will continue to be OK with this practice.
Of course, we can move onto more serious matters, like the affirmation of sexual practices condemned by scripture. Virtually every day, another so-called Christian musician/band or preacher/ministry comes out in full support of this or gives a soft, namby-pamby response in their denunciation of it (Hillsong, Carl Lentz, Lauren Daigle, Carrie Underwood, Jars of Clay, Andy Stanley, and Joel Osteen are just a few names that immediately come to mind; I’m sure there is a slew of others). I question whether any of these individuals is truly born again according to biblical standards. Regardless, there seems to be a disturbing phenomenon of so-called Christians not actually believing or following God’s Word, so much so that those who do follow it are considered the freaks, the oddballs.
Question: How radical should we be for Christ?
Answer: As radical as possible!
Bear in mind that “radical” according to the world’s definition is simply “normal” or “expected” according to God’s definition. We should all be living the book of Acts! Because lukewarmness has become the norm, those attempting to follow God wholeheartedly are deemed “radical.”
Question: How much should we compromise?
Answer: Not at all.
If our goal is level 10 (10 representing the ultimate in intimacy with Jesus, holiness, following God’s Word and walking in the power of the Spirit), if our friends, family members, and acquaintances are content at 7, 5, even 3 or lower, then our choice is either to remain at that level with them or to leave them behind, so we can keep moving forward.
The Bible is full of examples of individuals who had to go it alone:
1 Kings 19:13-18
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria…
18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
Two things stand out in the account of Elijah:
Though Elijah felt completely alone in his zeal for God, the Lord assured him that there were, in fact, many who still loved and were cleaving to the Lord.
Obadiah, a contemporary of Elijah, feared the Lord, but was not as radical as Elijah. Obadiah flew under the radar enough to maintain a cushy job as governor over wicked King Ahab’s house.
Do you want to be an Elijah, or are you content to be an Obadiah? Are you willing to risk everything to be radical for Christ, or would you prefer to fly under the radar, to compromise, to fit in, to enjoy success and approval in this world? Are you willing to walk the narrow road alone?
7 O Lord, thou hast deceived me,
and I was deceived:
thou art stronger than I,
and hast prevailed:
I am in derision daily,
every one mocketh me.
8 For since I spake, I cried out,
I cried violence and spoil;
because the word of the Lord
was made a reproach unto me,
and a derision, daily.
God’s Word to the children of Israel, through the prophet Jeremiah, was very unpopular. Thus, Jeremiah suffered immense abuse, even imprisonment.
God’s Word continues to be unpopular in this world. Are you willing to be a Jeremiah? Are you willing to risk everything for God’s Word, to be radical for Christ? Are you willing to walk the narrow road alone?
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
Our beloved Lord Jesus walked the road to Calvary alone, except, of course, for the presence of His Father.
2 Timothy 4:16-17
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
Paul stood alone, despite the myriad of Christian friends and associates he developed over the years.
Are you willing to walk the narrow road alone, with only the presence of the Lord?
The remnant is getting smaller and smaller.
One very important thing we must consider: Unholiness is contagious, infectious, while holiness is not!
Unholiness spreads; holiness does not.
11 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,
12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.
13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
When we consider the infectious nature of unholiness and the myriad of unholy practices that so-called Christians have gradually accepted over the centuries–pagan holidays and practices (e.g., tattoos, yoga, etc.), divorce, sexual sins, etc.–we can quickly see how and why compromise is so dangerous.
We need to either walk with Christ 110%, fully following His Word, or not at all. And if we choose to walk with Him fully, we may need to walk alone.
However, one of the greatest things about technology in the 21st century is that it is a means for radical Christians to find each other.
The internet was not around in Elijah’s day. Had it been around, Elijah may have found some of the 7,000 still remaining faithful to the Lord.
Though you may feel alone in your zeal for God, in your desire to strictly adhere to God’s Word, there are others out there who desire the same.
Psalm 27:4 Ministries hopes to be a resource for those desiring to walk the narrow path, to follow Christ radically. We are an online resource, but we hope to be an in-person resource in the very near future (with in-person Bible studies and eventually a church. We are currently in Plano, TX; contact us if you think you may be interested in getting involved in these ventures!).
But even if we are unable to find others on the narrow path, we must remain on that path ourselves. No compromise.
Even when we are alone, we are not truly alone: The Lord is with us…and there remains a remnant, those who have not bowed the knee to Baal, to the god of this world.
24 and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;