“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
Why is it that we do not take God at His word? Asking and receiving are closely linked together. If you ask in faith for the things that God has promised, you will receive. Look to Jesus for the things that you need. Ask Him for forgiveness of sins, and as you ask in faith your heart will be softened, and you will forgive those who have injured you, and your petitions will go up to God fragrant with love. With praying comes watching unto prayer, and every thought and word and act will be in harmony with your earnest petition for reformation in life. The prayer of faith will bring corresponding returns. But a mere form of words, without earnest sincerity and fervent desire for help, with no expectation of receiving, will avail nothing. Let not such a petitioner think he shall receive anything of the Lord. Those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
After asking the Lord for a knowledge of His will, for heavenly wisdom, for the light of the Holy Spirit, the petitioner will search the Scriptures, and find that passages that were dark to his mind have suddenly grown clear, and he understands his duty as never before. Jesus said: “My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself” (John 7:16, 17). The knowledge of divine truth is promised to those who will render obedience to the light and truth that have been given to them. An entrance into the strait gate is not dependent upon the possession of learning or riches, but it is dependent upon the possession of a teachable spirit. He who appreciates the first ray of heavenly light, and appropriates it, and walks in it, bringing his actions into harmony with that ray, and becoming sanctified through it, will receive yet more light. He will understand that the gospel is the plan of salvation.
Striving to enter in at the strait gate means that we give the subject of the future life our first attention. We are to cut away from every hindrance that would prevent our entering into the strait gate. Inclination to evil must be denied, habits and practises [sic] not in harmony with the word of God must be overcome. We must examine the Scriptures, determined to know what is the truth; and whoever comes to the Bible with a humble, teachable spirit, whether he be rich or poor, honored or despised, shall know of the doctrine as he renders obedience to the rays of light that fall upon his pathway. He will not be left to be deceived by the delusions of the enemy, to be swayed hither and thither by the doctrines of devils.
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24). This means nothing else than to be one with Christ, to make Him the sole object of attraction. He who thus strives to enter in at the strait gate will hear the voice of Jesus saying: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
He who would enter in at the strait gate can not expect the aid of the world in his necessities; for it is the world that has proved a snare to his soul, and has brought him into a position of hopelessness from which he needs to be rescued. But as he detaches his affections from the world, and accepts the life of self-denial and self-sacrifice that Jesus lived, giving him an example both by precept and performance, he enters in at the strait gate, to travel the narrow path which leads to the celestial city.
He who has an obedient heart, that is ready to do the will of God, will not only gladly receive truth, but will earnestly seek for truth as for hidden treasure. He will come to the Scriptures with a humble and teachable spirit, seeking to understand how he may walk in the light, and saying, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do” (Acts 9:6)? He is ready to sacrifice anything and everything, if required, in order that he may be in harmony with the will of God. It is not always an easy matter to render obedience to the will of God. It demands firmness of purpose to enter in at the strait gate and to travel in the narrow path that leads to eternal life, for on every hand are voices inviting the soul into bye and forbidden paths. Those who love wealth and honor and high position, will not enter in at the strait gate unless they part with their idols. There is not room to enter in at the strait gate and carry the things of this world along. He who would enter in at the strait gate must make an entire consecration of his all to God. Jesus says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
He who will follow Jesus through evil as well as good report, knows something of what is truth. He who will walk in the light as it comes, not waiting to have every mystery solved and every chance of doubt removed, will know of the doctrine, and will understand what are the advantages of entering in at the strait gate, and of walking in the narrow way. But he who would carry the world with him, will never enter in at the strait gate. There is no room for one to walk the narrow way and yet carry along evil surmisings, doubts, criticisms, jealousies, and unkindness. Such a one will refuse to enter in at the strait gate because he can not see the whole path to the paradise of God. He has many obstacles to present, many difficulties to bring to view, and Satan is ready to supply the soul with excuses for not entering in at the strait gate. Refusing to walk in the first rays of light, he fails to see the light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18). If he would walk while he has the light, the path would be illuminated as he advanced, and all would be made plain.
The Review and Herald, March 28, 1912.