Yesterday was Sunday here in Ikebukuro, Japan. I searched around for a church to visit but there weren’t any relatively close by. That’s kind of sad to me. A thought came to mind and I decided to have gather the family to watch a message preached by Don Cousins at Discovery Church. Don is a great friend who God has used much in my life. About a week ago, we were chatting about our upcoming trip as well as things in my heart. He suggested I watch his message from a few weeks ago that was right along the lines of what I was sharing. God has been leading me to read and reread the Sermon on the Mount. Don has been preaching from the Sermon on the Mount for the past several weeks. Great minds think alike. Anyway, we watched Don’s message, “Two Options, One Choice,” as a family. It was so good. Just what we needed. Isn’t it awesome how God meets you right where you are at?
“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.” Matt. 7:13-14
Don’s main point was in life, there are just two options, two choices, two paths to take. The broad way that leads away from God to destruction and the narrow path that leads to life. Jesus said one is easy, wide, with lots of people on it and the other is hard, narrow with very few on it.
Later that morning, we decided to walk to this interesting place called Sunshine City. You could probably spend an entire day there with the Observatory Deck with VR stuff you can do, an aquarium in the building, shops and shops and shops and all kinds of food, even Kua Aina, a hamburger joint from Hawaii!
One of the fun things getting around in a new place is bumbling around trying to find your way. We started on our way to Sunshine City with Google Maps, which I am horrible at following. As we tried to find the way, a thought came to mind. Just follow the crowd and we’ll get there. It’s crazy how many people are walking around and how few cars there are in a a city of over 370,000 people with a population density of almost 23,000 per km. Following the throng of people, it struck me, “This is like the broad way! It’s easy. It’s wide. And there’s a lot of people walking on it.”
As we walked, I thought about how easy it was. “All we need to do is follow the crowd and we’ll get to where we want to go.” For me, Google Maps was too confusing and too hard. It took too much work for me. It was too easy to get lost, if you took a wrong turn. Following Google Maps took way to much concentration for me. My verdict: Too hard. Following the crowd, so much easier! Then “BINGO!” Ding, ding, ding. Winner, winner, chicken dinner (KCF of course)! There it was! The lesson from Matthew 7 that Don spoke about only an hour or so earlier, literally before my very eyes! Two options, one choice. Following all the people on the broad way was easy! Following a specific source, Google Maps, in this case, was hard, again at least for me! Too much work. Following the crowd, so much easier.
As I took in the scene around me, some thoughts came to mind:
- It is so easy to just go with the flow. So easy to just follow popular opinion. You don’t draw attention to yourself. No one if offended because you’re going a different way. It’s easy. You just follow along.
- As I watched the hundreds and really thousands of people around me, I wondered how many of them knew Jesus. It kind of broke my heart, seeing the broad way before my eyes and how many people are on it and how many are headed to destruction. I wondered about that as I saw mommies and daddies, smiling and carrying their precious babies. Little children, so cute, skipping along, seemingly without a care in the world. Young people. So many young people. Couples in love, oblivious to the mass of humanity around them. The elderly off to the side, avoiding the rush of those around them, heading in the same direction, at a much slower pace. So many people! I thought, “Is this like that broad way that Jesus spoke about?” My heart was filled with love and compassion and a renewed passion to share the Good News.
- Am I continually seeking Jesus and walking on that narrow path or am I just taking the easy way and following the crowd? There are only two options, two roads. I am either on one or the other. There is no third road. Don’s challenging questions came to mind:
- Is my response to sin characterized by repentance?
- Is my will surrendered to God’s will?
- Does my life show forth the fruit of obedience?
- Do I sense the affirming voice of the Holy Spirit?
Good questions for me as I continue this adventure in Japan and more accurately, as I continue this adventure to truly abide in Christ. There’s just two options and one choice. Am I walking on that narrow, harder, path less traveled?
Another step …
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
We have been walking a lot from the minute we landed in Tokyo. A lot! Walking is great as it gives you time, or maybe more accurately, gives God an opportunity to speak to you. The big question is will I listen to what He says. As we continue our adventure, I think I will really focus on this.