Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces. Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.”( Matthew 7:6, 12-14)
Following Jesus through the narrow gate is difficult but the reward lasts for eternity. Is that worth it for you?
Entering into the narrow gate means following Christ, not just sometimes or part way, but completely. It means sacrificing to Him, and surrendering your life to Him. While to most of us, this seems like an impossible task, we also know that it certainly is not impossible. But phrases like “sacrificing to Him” and “surrendering your life to Him” not only make some squirm but also many feel that it is reserved for the saintly. In truth, the lives of saints can give us direction and purpose.
It is worth it to examine the metaphor in a more granular way. Jesus used this metaphor to reinforce his lesson about choosing the one true way which leads to peace with God rather than separation and destruction.
The word “narrow” is generally pejorative. We like to think of ourselves as broad-minded. No one wants to be considered narrow-minded. But the gospel calls for a certain narrowing of focus in following Christ, excluding some pathways that are easy and well-trodden. Saying “yes” to Christ’s way requires saying “no” to selfish ways. But any “narrowing down” and “self-denial” in the following of Jesus ultimately leads to a great expansiveness, a full sharing of God’s life. What lies beyond the narrow gate has a length, breath, width and depth which surpasses our knowledge.
While one can saunter through a wide gate without a second thought, to get through a narrow gate we must concentrate and focus our attention. It takes commitment to get through such a narrow gap. Being a true follower of Jesus requires both commitment and desire.
Attending Church each Sunday is uplifting and enriching. It also brings you closer to those who share your beliefs. But that alone is not passing through the narrow gate. It’s being obedient to God’s word and refusing to follow the way of those who think and act contrary to God’s law. It’s having the strength and the wisdom to stand up and distance ourselves from those whose words or actions are contrary to the Golden Rule.
When we encounter life’s crossroads, we have a choice to make which will affect our eternal life. When we follow or do not stand away from those who are antithetical to the Golden Rule we have a choice to make which will affect our eternal life.
Do the choices you make help you move towards the goal of loving God and obeying his will?
Prayer of The Day
“Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am – a pilgrim in this world, a Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those in authority over me or those under my authority, my friends and my enemies. Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor. Help me to forget myself and reach out towards others.” (Prayer attributed to Clement XI of Rome)
The Lord Jesus gives us freedom to choose which way we will go. Ask him for the wisdom to know which way will lead to life rather than to harm and destruction. “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. Therefore, choose life that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 3:15-20). Choose this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).” Behold I set before you the way of life and the way of death (Jeremiah 21:8)”. If we allow God’s love and wisdom to rule our hearts, then we can trust in his guidance and help to follow his path of love, truth, and holiness.