Difficulty and Desire
As we begin to look at a new section of the Sermon on the Mount I want to talk about the relationship between the two words “desire” and “difficulty”. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus contrasts two different “ways” or “paths”. There is the narrow way and the wide way. The narrow way is described by Jesus as being “difficult”. Other translations use the word “confined”. I believe that Jesus has both our earthly lives and our eternal lives in view as He talked about this narrow way. If we are honest…and why wouldn’t we be?… we would admit that living life the way Jesus has described for us in the preceding verses is not easy. There is no red “Easy” button to push. Rather, things like loving your enemies, turning the other cheek, going the extra mile and forgiving those who have wronged us are difficult. However, though living this way is difficult it should not diminish our desire to live this way. We should not shrink away from the difficult path.
How do you relate the words “desire” and “difficult”? I think that some quickly lose their desire if the way is difficult. They shrink away from the challenge and then their desires go unmet and unfulfilled. I suppose we have all done that at some point in our lives. However, those who have truly “lived life” are those who have not allowed the difficulty of the path to diminish their desire. Great athletes and successful businessmen and women have walked down the difficult path, often falling; but always getting back up on the path to achieve their desires. And when those desires are “God-given” then we have confidence and assurance that we can and will accomplish them.
As we near the end of our time in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount please do not feel discouraged. Rather, acknowledge the difficulty of the path, but do not let the difficulty diminish your desire. There is great benefit in pushing through and living life the way Jesus outlines it for us.