October 26, 2011
Phonetic Spelling: (thlee’-bo)
Short Definition: I make narrow, persecute, press hard
Definition: (a) I make narrow (strictly: by pressure); I press upon, (b) I persecute, press hard.
14 But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.
For years when I read this verse I would visualize a path with a narrow gate and I saw very few walking on that path.
Then I read this verse in the Amplified version and saw the parenthesis that says that the word narrow means constricted or contracted by pressure. Then when we actually look up the definition of the word we see the word persecute and press hard.
We know as Christians that Jesus has come to give us life (zoe) as it states in John 10:10. But we also know that the life of a Christian is one of persecution and pressure from the enemy. Not that this should steal away from the abundant joy that is imparted to us, but to know that there is nothing wrong with us or unique about us that we should encounter trials and tribulations here in this life.
2) Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Here James tells his fellowship to not only, not despair at the encounter of trials, but to consider it “all joy”. He had a much broader and eternal perspective of trials. Trials require our faith to be exercised and that use of our faith will strengthen it and create in us endurance. When we can endure a lot, our joy will not be easily dampened.
33) “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus said this to his disciples when he was about to be taken and crucified. But the same is true for us. In this world we will have tribulation. But He, Jesus has overcome the world and because of this we have the right as God’s children to take authority over the enemy who is forcing this pressure upon us. We have faith given from God to endure and come through any trial.
So when we read that the way to life is constricted with pressure, do not despair for we have been given the tools to overcome and the authority to do so. In Christ we can do all things including live a life of abundant joy in the midst of trials.
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