13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.Matthew 7:13-14 NASB 1995
“The long and winding road, That leads to your door, Will never disappear, I’ve seen that road before, It always leads me here, Leads me to you door…” Lennon/McCartney
During His ministry Jesus spoke often about the various paths that one could take on the road to becoming a Christian. He emphasized time and time again that being a Christian was no – walk in the park -, and His disciples learned pretty quickly this cold hard truth, you can follow the crowd through the wide gate take the easy way ’round, or you can go through the “narrow gate” and take the difficult way.
“The narrow gate” is a fairly straightforward concept: a narrow gate is harder to pass through than one that is wide. Only a few people may pass through a narrow gate at one time. So we are safe to assume that Jesus (during his Sermon on the Mount) was describing our pathway through life. The pathway that a Christian SHOULD take, the road fraught with hardships, uncertainty, questions, and doubt. This is the path that will lead to eternity. Our eternal life in Heaven is mapped out for us, but it is what we do in this life, the path we chose to take when walking towards our eternity that requires effort and focus.
Getting onto this path is only the first step though, in Matthew chapter 7:14 Jesus says, “Difficult is the way which leads to life”…
An early follower made a bold statement of commitment, saying to Christ: “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go” (Luke 9:57).
Jesus didn’t reply, “Wonderful! Please join us!” Instead, He said something that, at the least, would have caused the man to have second thoughts and, at the most, would have turned him away completely: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (verse 58).
Jesus was conveying the uncertainty that could accompany the life of a true Christian. To follow Christ, we must be willing to accept a certain amount of volatility in our lives—knowing that we will remain living in the world without remaining part of the world (John 17:9-19).
Jesus was telling the potential Christian that his calling was infinitely more important. The same is true for us—we can’t dedicate ourselves to follow Christ if we keep putting vague, open-ended priorities in front of our calling. A Christian’s love for living God’s way of life has to be greater than the love he or she has for any human relationship, as well as for himself or herself.
You must overcome and endure trials
Just as condemned criminals were made to carry the crosses upon which they would be executed, we must be willing to endure and overcome whatever trials we may face as Christians. These trials are not optional or unexpected—they are as certain as the ultimate fate of someone bearing a cross. This is a narrow gate, indeed…
If we enter onto the difficult path expecting only clear skies and happiness, we risk running out of steam when we have to deal with the challenging days that are sure to come.
There is more to following God than merely accepting Christ; you will be tested again and again. You will be asked to make difficult choices and sometimes you will do difficult things. You will be asked to sit still and listen for God’s word, to walk the long and winding road entering through the narrow gate, by taking the road less travelled. Do you want to be one of the few who dares to chose this path, or do you want to follow crowd waiting with the masses for your chance to enter Heaven’s Gates?
Would “the narrow gate” describe the way you are choosing to live? Or are you choosing the smooth way, the way that meets the least resistance?