Are you after earthly blessing in the here and now, or are you after the Heavenly reward? It is highly unlikely you can have both. When the Disciples first began following Jesus, they thought that He was going to take over the world, and that they would be in the rulership. As time went on, they came to understand that rulership was for the future. After Jesus was slain, they came to know little by little that not only was reigning with Jesus for the future, but that the here and now was about suffering for Him, not earthly blessings.
The early church understood this, too. They were willing to suffer and die for their faith. Even as we hear present teachings that God will bless us in the here and now, there are millions of Christians in the third world countries who are suffering and dying for their faith. They would rightly disdain the messages being preached in the free world countries.
Again here, we need to remember types and shadows. The O.T. showed God blessing people with visible wealth when they pleased Him. There are indeed blessings to be had in the here and now, but they are not necessarily earthly ones. They are invisible ones. Spiritual in nature. Sorrow refines, and only through suffering do we get the Spiritual blessings, the ones which will not burn as wood, hay, and stubble when passed through the fire at judgment. “There is a way that seemeth right to men, but………”
So when present leaders justify their greed demons in gathering riches by quoting selected verses that we will have our financial reward here and now, they mislead us. The reward we here on earth by taking the Narrow Path is a Spiritual one. It is the gaining of wisdom, love, and righteousness. Far more valuable than earthly mammon.
Strange that Jesus said to count the cost before starting on this Path. If you have not actually been on this Path, you cannot come close to realizing its emotional pain. So, in fact, there is no way to count the cost. One can only know it will be hard, and agree to take it in spite of the coming pain and suffering, just as Jesus made the same decision. Our choice is our own Gethsemane experience.
This Path is one of taking back our emotions from the enemy who took them from us while we were children. The demons in charge there will not be happy when they see this threat against them, and they will fight you with their only weapon, your emotions. The emotional pain will go very deep, even lapping over into physical pain. But this is the Way, the same Path that Jesus took during His hidden years.
Brethren will see you going through what they think is unnecessary and will begin to avoid you, making it a very lonely time for you. They will not understand the war going on in your soul, invisible to any but yourself. Likely, God will supply you with friends who either have taken, or are also taking the Path. Be sure to watch for them. This helps, but they will mostly be there for comfort, for each individual will have his own unique war. But co-disciples can sometimes see what God is showing us, when we can’t see it for ourselves. It would be wonderful if mates could walk this Path together, as God designed them to do.
Many will fear taking this Path because they feel they cannot make it in their weakness. But remember how God took a fearful hiding Gideon, who thought he could do nothing, and turned him into a warrior for the liberation of His people.
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