Gates have many functions. They provide an entrance or secure an area. When opened they allow access or can signal the beginning of a race. In Biblical times the gate to a city was the seat of governmental and business transactions.
We each have gates in our own lives. One of my favorite gates is in the book, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hogsdon Burnett. This gate leads into a magical garden that initially is dead and unfruitful, but overtime transforms into an exquisite garden filled with beauty and healing.
I have been the dead, brown, lifeless garden. The Lord in His infinite mercy has, over the years, planted His flowers into my life to also transform me. Sometimes though, He allows us to go through seasons where we find ourselves severely pruned back and we are like the garden in winter – waiting for spring. The good news is that spring always, eventually comes and we see the glorious results of His drastic garden maintenance.
Gates also protect us. If you accidentally leave the gate to your yard open, the dog or kids could get out and possibly face a harmful situation. In the same way, I think we can also unintentionally leave a gate in our lives open. Maybe the first time, through a small, seemingly unimportant sin, nothing happens. So we get complacent and don’t check the gate as often as we should. After a while, the gate seems like it is open more than closed. Then, disaster awaits.
I believe that the Lord prompts us when our gate has been left open. He does not want us to let sin take precedence. He loves us enough to encourage us to repent of whatever “sin so easily besets us.” (Hebrews 12:1) We must be willing to give up our pride, stubbornness, self-will or whatever holds its grip on us. Only then will the gate close and once again protect and secure the area.
In a horse race, the gate signals the start of the race. If the gate malfunctioned, the race could never begin. Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us “… to run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
In a race, the goal is to stay focused and finish. So too, we must finish the race the Lord has set before us. A great cloud of witnesses, here on earth and in the heavenlies, is watching our race. Let us finish our race with honor and valor. Let our lives make a statement.
I believe the Lord is cheering us on and encouraging us to choose His way – not our way. It is always our choice. Which will you choose?