We may be able to understand a God who would forgive sinners who come to him for mercy. But a God who tenderly searches for sinners and then joyfully forgives them must possess an extraordinary love! This is the kind of love that prompted Jesus to come to earth to search for lost people and save them. This is the kind of extraordinary love that God has for you. If you feel far from God, don’t despair. He is seaching for you.
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. (Luke 15:4, 5 NLT)
Finding salvation requires more concentrated effort than most people are willing to put forth. Obviously, we cannot save ourselves-there is no way we can work ourselves into God’s favor. The effort we must put out “to enter the narrow door” is earnestly desiring to know Jesus and diligently striving to follow him whatever the cost. We dare not put off making this decision because the door will not stay open forever.
“Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ (Luke 13:24, 25 NLT)
Jesus says that the good life has nothing to do with being wealthy, so be on guard against greed (desire for what we don’t have). This is the exact opposite of what society usually says. Advertisers spend millions of dollars to entice us to think that if we buy more and more of their products, we will be happier, more fulfilled, more comfortable. How do you respond to the constant pressure to buy? Learn to tune out expensive enticements and concentrate instead on the truly good life-living in a relationship with God and doing his work.
Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” (Luke 12:15 NLT)