Over thirty years ago, when I started reading the Bible while in the Army, I stumbled upon a startling passage in the Gospels — “strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it.” This passage rocked my world. It turned my understanding upside down. I had grown up thinking that almost all men, except really bad people like Adolf Hitler, would be in heaven. I was dead wrong. The reality is, most are lost and few are saved.

So what is the strait gate? It is not baptism, or confirmation, or a religious experience. It is simply heart conversion. And what is the narrow path? It is not church membership. It is not my church, your church, or any other church. It is simply walking with Jesus.

But men don’t like to walk with Jesus because he meddles too much. He puts his finger on their sin. He challenges their love for the world. He forever quotes the Bible to them and encourages them to read it. They prefer religion because it accommodates their sin and compromise. Then they pretend that practicing religion is walking with Jesus. This is tragic. Religious forms should help us go deeper in the Bible and in our walk with Christ, not substitute for them. The most scriptural religious forms on Earth profit a man no more than the faith in his heart. So, will you trust in religion or follow Jesus?

~Lee Brainard, November 8, 2014

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