Near the end of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” as it is called, He spoke about “Entering by the narrow gate…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). Was Jesus intentionally trying to put people off from following him? I don’t think so. He was being honest about the cost of being His disciple (see Luke 14:25-33).
Those whom God calls to serve Him must realize that the “restriction” of the “narrow” gate is only because it will prevent us from carrying with us things that cannot give God the place and glory that rightly belongs to Him. I have often wondered why God has prevented me from enjoying what many others seem to have so easily. He knows what is best for me; what will contribute to His plan and purpose in my life and what will complete His plan and purpose for the people of this world.
“The way is hard”! Because we are surrounded by a culture that wants pleasure for itself and thinks nothing of what is due to God, we will suffer and be persecuted if we commit to living for the Lord (2 Timothy 3:12). As we consider these realities for the follower of Jesus, notice the stark difference with the outcomes. “The gate is wide and the way easy that leads to destruction (ruin and waste).” On the other hand, “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life (days without end).”
It is healthy for all of us who profess to follow Jesus, to ask if there are things we are still trying to drag through the narrow gate that actually hinder and steal our complete joy in the Lord. The more we “lay aside every weight and sin which clings to closely,” the more we will be able to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). How “few” are those who FINISH WELL! Will you?
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