Jesus made a very bold statement in Matthew 7:13-14 when He said: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
In Jesus’ day the ‘religious people’ did what was required to respect and obey the commandments. To the ears of those listening to Jesus’ words that day, the statement would have made sense. Writers embraced the imagery of the two ways; the narrow one leading to life and the broad leading to destruction. (ex. Deuteronomy 30:15-20)
I did not grow up in a spiritual environment or attend a Bible believing church as young boy; so when I read Jesus’ words and heard messages about these verses, they put a healthy fear in me.
Fast forward to today…some people reading these verses would say the words seem condemning. Some might even say that no pastor, church or even Jesus has a right to tell them which road to take. But in so doing, they forget Jesus is the one who has their best interest at heart. We all have an important choice to make, following Christ wholeheartedly or not.
To follow, according to the dictionary, “is to act according to the lead or example of” a specific person; in our case, the example and lead of Jesus. As believers, our greatest desire should be to look at what Jesus said and did and make Him our model. That is, if we truly desire to walk in His footsteps.The gate is small and the path that leads to God is narrow, requiring total attention. Click To Tweet
Recently I was running in a local neighborhood when I discovered a small narrow path. When I stopped to see where it led (feature photo), God reminded me of the same words Jesus spoke in Matthew 7. The gate is small and the path that leads to God is narrow, requiring total attention. Life’s distractions can send us in many directions and at times it can be easy to miss something that is so critical to our spiritual well-being.
I am reminded that in our society of ‘free for all’ and ‘do as you please’ we must heed the biblical guidelines of this narrow path. I re-read the verses in the Message translation and it says: “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.”
Was Jesus really speaking in condemning terms? I believe the words of Jesus were meant to jar people from a complacent lifestyle. They are meant in the same way for us today. If I were to design a logo describing life in God I would add this as a subtitle, “vigorous and total attention required.”We need careful examination and strong determination as we walk with the Lord. Click To Tweet
We need careful examination and strong determination as we walk with the Lord. Thinking that these are harsh words or that Jesus is condemning, won’t get us off the hook. The Bible reminds us that “every man needs to examine his own life” (1 Corinthians 11:28). So if you’re reading this and feel condemned, examine yourself. You alone know why. Decide once and for all to become a kingdom follower and not a crowd follower.
Of course grace is important, but we must not use it as an excuse for doing what we please, especially when we know God’s Word objects to our lifestyles and choices. We must make the decision to follow the Lord daily, wholeheartedly and embrace biblical wisdom above our own best intentions.We must embrace biblical wisdom above our own best intentions. Click To Tweet
Here are three things I see in the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 7.
ENTER the narrow gate
Jesus said we must enter the narrow gate, standing outside trying to peer in will not benefit us. Kingdom living requires action. You see, God has the best plans for us, to prosper us and give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). The sooner we enter the small gate and walk the narrow path, the better we will be. Yes at times uncomfortable and unpopular with our friends or family, but blessed by God.
Don’t follow the crowd
The road that leads far from God is broad and highly traveled. Along the way, you’ll meet vendors offering easygoing formulas for achieving superficial success. Fleeting satisfaction that quickly fades by the next week, month or year if you’re pushing hard for it.
Jesus said to not fall for it. In our consumerist society of ‘do whatever if it’s fun and pleasing’, we fall for it more often than not. The words of Jesus stand as a warning to not allow ourselves to be swayed by the crowd rushing into a lifestyle that leads far from God. We are to heed the warnings and remain vigilant. God knows the beginning and end of all things, I choose therefore to trust Him and not those who scream the loudest to get my attention away from God. How about you?
Don’t stop looking
Jesus said that the narrow gate is sought by few: “and only a few find it.” God is not playing hide and seek with us. God is not a mean cranky old man hiding good things from us. Psalm 84:11 says “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” Perhaps it’s about having the determination to seek wholeheartedly. It’s about maintaining a posture of dependence on God, rather than following the next fad or pleasure.
Don’t get me wrong, following Jesus should not be a boring existence or restricted living and it is not! John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give us a life that is better than we could dream of – a full life. That is why the devil perpetrates this lie that following Jesus is boring. We miss the greater blessing that comes from living a life that keeps God at the center when we choose to look for other sources, rather than God.
Where are you at in your walk with Jesus? Have you surrendered your right to be right? Have you given up searching for secondary pleasures, when God promises life more abundant?
I choose to enter the narrow gate and walk the narrow path. I am determined to enjoy a full life with God. All the fun and pleasure we may find in this life will never equate to a life of peace here on earth and eternity with God.
Enter the small gate and walk the narrow road!
Davide has a unique communication style that has given him a platform in the marketplace to use his “get the job done” skill set.God has instilled in Davide a passion to equip the body of Christ through teaching, mentoring and speaking life through experience and wisdom of years.He is deeply passionate about pursuing and cultivating the presence of God. He currently lives with his wife of 31 years, Lois in Charlotte, NC. They have 3 amazing children with their married spouses.