The Real and the Knockoff: Pt 1: The Two Choices
What is Real and What is a Knockoff Part 1:
The Real Gate and the Knockoff Gate
Sometimes it is almost impossible to distinguish a knockoff product from a genuine article. At first glance, they look identical. However, delve deeper and look beyond the external appearance, and you will quickly discover that the difference is more than just price. The real is built to last, possessing the qualities of master workmanship. The other is quickly made with cheap parts that do not hold up with any use.
As Christ comes to the end of his sermon, he now focuses upon the difference between a genuine disciple and those who merely appear to be a disciple. To do so, he uses four different methods to compare the real with the replica, the pretender from the authentic (The two paths, the two trees, the two confessions, the two foundations). The four are merely to illustrate one truth but four different tests to examine four qualities that distinguish a genuine disciple from the false. As we read these four illustrations for the rest of this week, it is important to note that the purpose is primarily not for us to evaluate others (although there is an aspect of this within the message). Still, the goal is for us to examine ourselves. The greatest threat to our faith is not the deception of the world but our self-deception. The prophet Jeremiah warns us, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it” (Jeremiah 17:9). So begins our journey of self-evaluation to see if we are genuine disciples of Christ or mere pretenders.
The first analogy is the comparison between the narrow and wide gates. He begins with the fact that we are confronted with a choice and that the totality of our spiritual life is bound up in the choice between two paths and two paths only. These paths are radically different, and the outcome of the two journeys is very distinct. The first path seems to be the logical choice, for it is the path that most people take. It is a path that is popular. If you were to listen to the crowds, it would be the most appealing and the right choice. It is the most obvious and easy to see. But popular opinion is deceptive, for it does not consider humanity's sinful nature. While it seems to be the right choice, for it is the choice of our world, the end of the road leads to destruction. Destruction does not refer to mere hardships but complete and irreparable ruin.
The second path is intrinsically different. This path is narrow and constricted. The terms serve to contrast this path with the first. Unlike the broad way, this path points to hardship and affliction. At first glance, it is the pathway no one would choose. The entrance is small and difficult to find. To look down this path reveals a narrow and challenging journey. It is a path that will bring sacrifice and suffering. This is why so many people fail to find it, and those who do see it are repulsed by its journey. It does not appeal to us, for it requires self-sacrifice and suffering. However, herein lies the irony. The easy path leads to death, but the hard way leads to life.
The first step in evaluating our authenticity is to examine which path we are choosing. Are we following the world and the philosophy of our age, or will we surrender to God and follow his directions and plan—a simple choice between two options? There are not multiple paths to God, and there is only one way to God, which is through surrendering our life to Christ. Any other pathway leads to destruction. The first test of authenticity is that we reject the world's philosophy, wisdom, and worldview and choose to follow the way God has chosen.