Gold, the precious metal that can make fortunes or destroy lives, is also a metaphor for “priceless.”
When we esteem something of the highest value, we call it “golden.” Strangely enough, a paraphrase of the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount has been dubbed, ”The Golden Rule.” We often quote it this way: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What Jesus actually said was:
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them,
for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
The meaning is clear in either version. When He elaborated on the rule with the words, “this is the Law and the Prophets,” He elevated this rule beyond the level of platitudes and embroidered doilies. He said that all the rules and regulations for living that came down from the stormy heights of Mt. Sinai can be summed up with this one rule. He went on to say that all the corrective prophesies from men of God sent to bring revival to a backslidden land also added up to this one rule. The holy Covenant of old was summarized as far as practical living was concerned with these simple words. It is true enough that were this rule to take effect today, strife would cease like a forgotten rainstorm, violence would strike its last blow, and poverty would vanish like a morning fog.
Of course, none of that will happen, at least not until Jesus binds Satan and casts him into the pit and then reigns on this earth. “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Until then, this remains an ideal, a precious metal of promise, a golden rule.
The Narrow Way
This is also the Narrow Way, undiscovered by most people but a blessing to those who find it and enter there. The Sermon on the Mount points us to the Narrow Way. This is a supernatural life, not one that springs naturally from our inmost impulses or even our surface inclinations. If we choose to follow Jesus, we will find this a narrow path indeed. Most people will not join us. They will seek more popular roads, broad, well-paved roads clearly marked but the signs often tell lies. When following our unredeemed hearts, the miles are always longer than the signs promise. The curves are more drastic than indicated. The climbs are steeper and the plunges more dangerous than advertised. The Broad Road promises fun but the thrills soon become frightful hazards that threaten our lives. We find that the promised light is darkness instead and the destination is a mirage of shining nothingness. The word Jesus used is “destruction.”
The Narrow Way seems difficult and it is not an easy road. The differences are several and significant:
- This road is well marked and the road signs are true.
- The guardrails are strong and well-placed, helping us stay on course.
- When darkness falls, the traveler has his/her own inner light to light the way.
- When the climb is steep, we have power assistance from heaven and from the Spirit within.
- When the road takes a plunge into a deep valley, which it will sometimes do, we have a braking system called Sabbath rest that slows us down and keeps us safe.
- And best of all, we have a travelling Companion who has driven this road before us and who is with us every mile of the way.
We have a golden rule to keep and a golden highway to follow.
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you. And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
1 John 1:6-7
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the Narrow Way. Thank You that I can trust all the road signs You place alongside this road. Though not many travel this road, the ones who do are priceless companions. They, too, try to live by the Golden Rule. They can be trusted. Help me always to treat them as they deserve. The most wonderful thing about the Narrow Way is this: as the song says, “I see Your footprints all the way!” Thank You, Lord. Amen.
He Keeps Me Singing
Words and Music: Luther B. Bridgers
1. There’s within my heart a melody;
Jesus whispers sweet and low,
“Fear not, I am with you, peace, be still,”
in all of life’s ebb and flow.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know,
fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.
2. All my life was wrecked by sin and strife,
discord filled my heart with pain,
Jesus swept across the broken strings,
stirred the slumbering chords again.
3. Though sometimes He leads through waters deep,
trials fall across the way;
though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
see His footprints all the way.
4. Feasting on the riches of His grace,
resting ‘neath His sheltering wing,
always looking on His smiling face,
that is why I shout and sing.
5. Soon He’s coming back to welcome me
far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown,
I shall reign with Him on high.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.