The Way is Narrow
By Benjamin H. Liles
"Those who enter God's kingdom come through [me] the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is [pleasant and] broad and wide for those who go that way. Yet, the road to life [you will experience trouble and] is very narrow and difficult; there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14, a mix of New Living Translation and how Christ is referring to himself).
The first time I read Jesus' statements about life and death, that we see here in Matthew 7, I always wondered, "What does he mean here?" Considering the fact I have felt a long time now, over a year, to post up what God shows me, I feel He desires me to show others the way to Christ. However, it is up to you, the hearer, and the Spirit of God to come to terms whether you follow Jesus the Christ or not.
So, what is Jesus getting at? If we look forward just a bit to Matthew 24, Jesus tells the disciples that the days will come that people will pay more attention and mind to teachings from false prophets. As I have posted up a day or so ago, on Ezekiel 14, God will handle those who falsely speak on His behalf as well as those who go their way to destruction. If we see that the partial cause for this is our own independence of God and doing our own thing we're no better than our ancestors who "Did right in their own eyes" (Judges 21:25).
I want to put forth that part of the broad way to destruction is our own choice to follow our own desires, to not follow God, to not listen to Him, refusing Christ all together. But i don't want to get far away from that. What is this narrow door? By going to another book in the Bible we read, "he explained to them, 'I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and find good pastures. The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life" (John 10:7-10, New Living Translation, bold important points).
Those who follow after Christ and enter into the rest that He provides (which is another post for another day) enter into life everlasting. It is also by doing His full and perfect will. How do we do this? First, Christ promises He alone gives us peace. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid" (John 14:27, Berean Study).
Why would Christ say He gives to those who seek and find Him peace? Is there something more we will pass through, possibly even endure? "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33, New American Standard). So, we must endure the temporariness of experiencing pain and trouble. As I experience depression off and on, this is one form of that trouble. And it, technically, lasts for a night. Yes, there are times it takes days to pass through the difficulty, but in the light of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, it is at best temporary. Things get better because of that relationship with Christ.
Second, Christ says, "I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b). If He has paid the penalty of sin and death on our behalf and been raised to life by the Father, it proves He not only told the truth, but that He indeed has overcome the things of this world. They are as follows: sin, temptation, death, suffering, trials and troubles. Remember beloved that it is written, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13, Holman Christian Standard).
Last, because Christ's atoning work on the cross gives us peace, and he overcame all things, we can bear those things that normally keep us from Him and doing His will. After all Christ used the words, "You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate...[it] is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it" (Matthew 7:13, 14). We have this life because of His work. It is His gift to us so we don't have to face God and His wrath. For all sin is deserving of death.
By this we see and have shown that Jesus Christ is the narrow gate. If we want life and to have it abundantly with God we need to be in a relationship with Jesus. It means listening to His voice, allowing ourselves to be discipled so we can share the love of God with others. By going through the narrow gate of Jesus, not only do we have life eternal, but even though it is difficult, as both Christ and Paul have said, "Our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever" (2 Corinthians 4:17, New Living Translation).
It is my prayer this blesses you and shows you the love of Jesus you so desperately need. He's not only the narrow gate which we enter, but He's our prize, our portion, our Lord and Savior. If we desire Him the world and its troubles ought be left behind. The way that leads to destruction isn't just broad or shows our independence from God, but we often times listen to those who do not preach the word of God in and out of season. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.