“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easythat leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14
This passage is full of contrasts. And really, the Sermon on the Mount has been full of them as well. Our God is an artist and He uses language masterfully to communicate.
How can a narrow gate lead to life? Isn’t that counter intuitive? But hasn’t the whole Sermon on the Mount been counterintuitive up to this point? Choosing forgiveness, praying for our enemies, not being anxious.
I think the biggest contrast we see here is that those choosing the wide gate actually think they are choosing a path to life. Instead, it leads to destruction. Isn’t that how Satan works? He promises freedom, satisfaction, happiness, but in the end we find ourselves knee deep in sin, disappointment, and guilt – enslaved by our desires.
Ironically, the narrow way Jesus invites us to is not easy but it leads to life. True freedom. Joy, Real joy. This path holds life now. In this life. Not just in the life to come. Wholeness and peace in relationships and peace in my soul now. Choosing trust rather than worry is harder but it leads to life. Choosing to value God’s kingdom over earthly treasure is difficult but it produces godly fruit. Choosing to resist lust is the harder road but behind it leaves a legacy of integrity and faithfulness.
Though the way is hard, we are not alone. Jesus walked it. He walks it with us now. We follow His invitation to enter in with Him. And though the way is narrow, the promise of His presence makes the burden light (Matthew 11:30).
Today, think back through some of the themes and teachings from the Sermon on the Mount: lust, forgiveness, money, worry, reconciliation, prayer, fasting, judgement, etc. Ask yourself: Am I choosing the narrow way? The way of Jesus? This is not merely the moment of salvation; this choosing of the narrow way is how we live out each of these themes in our everyday, minute by minute lives. If you’ve found yourself on the wide path, heed Jesus’ call to enter the narrow gate. He has made it accessible to you, to all. As you reflect on this and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you on the path of life, may your soul be encouraged by this song: Christ Be All Around Me.
By Ellen Rosenberger