“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13, NIV
Did you know that coconuts (or any other hollow vessel) can be used to catch monkeys? Here is the procedure: 1) cut a coconut in half and hallow it out, 2) cut a small hole in one half of the coconut shell that is just large enough for a small monkey to put their hand through, 3) put some fruit in the hallow coconut and fasten the shell halves back together, 4) hang the fruit trap on a tree with rope, hide and wait for a curious monkey to come along. The monkey will smell the fruit and shove his hand into the coconut but will not be able to pull his fist full of fruit out of it. Although escape is as easy as letting go, they would rather get caught than let go of the fruit.
Many of you may have heard about this technique for catching monkeys before in church as an excellent analogy for human greed. As I was talking with a good friend recently about this topic, I realized that the “coconut trap” is also applicable to understanding a saving faith in Christ. How many of us have our little monkey hands “stuck in the coconut” and are holding for dear life onto some sin, church tradition, denominationalism, false teaching, human effort or just plain pride? Jesus said it this way, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘ I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:21-23, NIV) I don’t know about you, but this verse shakes me to my very core.
So where is the “narrow road” and how do we know Christ and the will of the Father? Jesus followed up his comments by teaching, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had it’s foundation of the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NIV) So are we still out in the “rain” of life holding onto stale fruit, or are we starting to get sick of our foolishness? Are we ready to come into the house of God’s presence through a saving faith in Christ? Jesus is Truth and He has real fruit for us (see Galations 5:22-23). So how about it? Let’s relax our hands, let go of the lies and join Jesus in His work to bring glory to our Heavenly Father.