Are You Walking the Narrow Road?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio


WINNING WITH THE WORD

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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Novelist and Life Coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is Monday, September 14, 2020. Today’s Podcast is Episode #36 in Series 2020 and is titled “Are You Walking the Narrow Road?”

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In the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, verse 13, the Word of God gives a sobering command and warning: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

What is the narrow gate? One Biblical commentator calls the narrow gate “the gate of true conversion” (Benson).  Many pray the sinner’s prayer and

believe that is all they need to do to be saved. But to pray the sinner’s prayer without turning away from sin, without crucifying the flesh, without obey the Lord’s commands is pointless–and even dangerous.

True conversion means turning away from sin and living a life of holiness. This takes great effort, and few people are willing to put in the effort. It is not easy to say no to the flesh–to greed, to lust, to selfish ambition. Yet, that is precisely what we must do if we want to follow Jesus Christ.

There is a huge difference between accepting Christ as our Savior and accepting Him as our Lord. He Himself said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. Accepting Christ as Savior alone has a selfish aspect to it because it is an act of concern only for one’s personal salvation. While this is certainly a good thing, the act cannot stop there. It must go beyond the concern for deliverance from Hell to the love that inspires perfect obedience to the Lord Who saved us.

When Jesus called His twelve apostles, He commanded them to FOLLOW Him.  One definition of the word follow means to take orders from. When we choose to follow Jesus, we choose to take our orders from Him and to put aside our own will and desires in order to accomplish His.

Christians are often accused of being narrow-minded. Well, we are narrow-minded because our minds are continually focused on staying on the narrow road. It is far too easy to fall off the edge of the narrow road into the ditch of sin precisely because the road is narrow.  So our minds must continually focus on this truth—that the road is narrow and we must walk it carefully and not move off of it.

Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 19: 23). The sign of true conversion is self-denial. The cross we are to carry daily is precisely this self-denial. It is saying no daily to all those desires that are contrary to God’s Word and choosing, instead, to obey the Lord’s commands as found in His Word.

If you have made Jesus your Savior but not your Lord, I urge you to repent and to complete a full conversion. Turn from your sins and begin to obey the Lord’s commands.

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and Lord, please do so now by praying this prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I want to make you both Savior and Lord of my life. I accept You now as my Savior and as my Lord. Forgive me of my sin. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Give me Your grace to follow you, to deny myself, and to obey you all the days of my life. I ask and receive in Your precious Name. Amen.

If you prayed this simple prayer, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a little booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He instructs you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers.

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table

If you have been blessed by this blog and podcast, I encourage you to share them with others. I also invite you to become a Winning with the Word patron on Patreon. As a patron you will enjoy special benefits only for my patrons. Just go to Patreon.com and search for Winning with the Word to join. I would like to thank all of my patrons who are making this podcast possible. We now reach 26 countries all over the world. I could not do this without your help.

Thank you so much for listening. This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, reminding you that God loves you just as you are and just where you are, and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word.

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Now it’s your turn: Have you embraced your race? If not, what is holdiong you back? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you

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IS IT REPENTANCE OR FEAR OF GETTING CAUGHT?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, Your Virtual Life Coach

Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4: 23
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“I‘m sorry, Mommy!” Little Jake had been caught red-handed taking cookies from the cookie jar after his mother had told him not to.

Mommy looked him in the eye. “Jake, are you sorry because you hurt Jesus by disobeying me, or are you sorry because you got caught?”

Not one to lie, Jake responded, “I’m sorry because I got caught.”

What about us? When we sin, are we sorry because we have hurt the heart of God, or are we sorry because our sin got us into some kind of trouble? In other words, do we repent out of fear of the personal consequences of our sin, or do we repent out of love for our Heavenly Father Whom we have hurt by our sin? 

There is only one kind of sorrow that pleases God, and that is the sorrow that stems from love for Him, not from fear of personal consequences. David the Psalmist understood this when he penned these words in Psalm 51: 17: ” . . . a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise.”

Is our heart broken and contrite because of our sin? Or are we merely crying crocodile tears because we are suffering the negative consequences of our sin?

Human sorrow leads only to more sinning. Godly sorry comes from a broken heart that is aware it has hurt the heart of the Father. Only Godly sorrow is transformational because it stems from love for the Father and not from fear for ourselves. Only Godly sorrow is true repentance.

If you do not have Godly sorrow for your sin, do what I did. I asked God to show me what my sin looks like to Him and how it makes Him feel. When He showed me, I was appalled and understood what He meant when He said in Isaiah 64: 6 that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” 

When we move from fear-based sorrow to love-based sorrow, we will understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote that “we are no longer slaves to sin” (Romans 6: 6). Instead, we will have become slaves to our Lord and Lover Whose precious heart we would never want to break.

Now it’s YOUR turn! How would you describe Godly sorrow? Describe a time when you experienced human sorrow or Godly sorrow. Please comment in the box below. Thanks! 

TWEETABLE: “Is It Repentance or Fear of Getting Caught?” by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio (CLICK TO TWEET)

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Please check out my heart-mending novel, THE MADONNA OF PISANO, for an example of true, Godly repentance.

 

THE MADONNA OF PISANO
Book 1 in The Italian Chronicles Trilogy

“A young woman, a priest, and a secret that keeps them bitterly bound to each other….”

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You Were Made for Greatness! by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD

A dynamic book that will help you overcome negative feelings about yourself and put you on the road to success in every area of your life. Using sound Biblical principles, nationally known author, life coach, and businesswoman, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, deals with such life-changing topics as overcoming worry and fear, taking charge of your life, learning to accept yourself, and finding your purpose in life. YOU WERE MADE FOR GREATNESS! Offers practical advice which, if applied, guarantees success and will help you become all that God created you to be.

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Matters of the Heart is a weekly blog that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart, the issues we all face but sometimes don’t want to talk about. The heart is the programming center of our lives. What is programmed into our heart will affect every area of our lives. Learn how to discover what is in your heart and how to program your heart for success.

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Copyright 2017 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA.  All Rights Reserved.