“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
Jesus speaks about two divergent courses that a person can choose to follow in life: a wide gate leading to a broad pathway, and the other, a strait gate leading to a narrow and difficult path. The latter is symbolic of the Christian experience and way of life which the Lord Jesus Christ beckons us to follow.
This gate is a constricting entrance, an exclusive pathway from the very start, and a personal one. In its narrowness, certain things are to be left behind in order for one to pass on through.
The Christian is to leave behind the ways of the world, the outlook that ignores God, living a life based upon the whims and demands of this life alone. In leaving the worldly principle, the Christian finds himself as a unique, responsible being before God, confronting the issues of his life and his eternal destiny.
The Christian is to leave the old “self” outside the gate. He is to put off the old man and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
This gate is narrow because it is a difficult experience. The Christian life is not easy because it is too glorious and wonderful, in contrast to how effortlessly the ordinary can be attained. There are few who find and enter the exalted Christian life simply because it is a hard life.
The gate is strait because if truly lived, it involves suffering and persecution. The world has always been inclined to persecute the person who follows God. Jesus Christ Himself was rejected and persecuted by the world, hence the Christian must be ready to be misunderstood, because he has been set apart to follow Christ.
This gate leads to a path that continues to be narrow. The Christian life keeps on being difficult; it is a continuous “fight of faith” right to the very end.
But the narrow pathway leads to life, rescuing us from the path of destruction. It is the road trodden by Christ Himself, and it is our privilege to walk out of this world and enter into this life, following Him every step of the way.
** Reference: David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount”, Martino Publishing, CT, 2011, pp. 217-228.
** Photograph: Gate in the Poppies by Evgeni Dinev