Enter By the Narrow Path - Matthew 7:13-14

Verse of the Day

Narrow Path Bible Verse
Photo Source: Pixabay / Composition: Sue Chastain

Welcome to Verse of the Day!

Today's Bible Verse:

Matthew 7:13-14
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (ESV)

Today's Inspiring Thought: Enter By the Narrow Path

In most Bible translations these words are written in red, meaning they are the words of Jesus Christ. The teaching is part of Christ's famous Sermon on the Mount.

Contrary to what you might hear in many American churches today, the way that leads to eternal life is a difficult, less-traveled path. Yes, there are blessings along the way, but there are many hardships, too.

The wording of this passage in the New Living Translation is especially poignant:

"You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it."

One of the most common misconceptions of new believers is thinking that the Christian life is easy, and God solves all of our problems. If that were true, wouldn't the path into heaven be wide?

Although the walk of faith is replete with rewards, it's not always a comfortable road. Jesus spoke these words to prepare us for the reality—the ups and downs, the joys and the sorrows, the challenges and the sacrifices—of our journey with Christ. He was preparing us for the hardships of true discipleship. The apostle Peter restated this reality, warning believers not to be surprised by painful trials:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13, NIV)

Christ's teaching about the narrow gate is meant to be practical, not dogmatic. Many scholars believe it would be a mistake to think Jesus was implying that God has destined the majority of people for hell. Those who find the narrow gate must search for it deliberately because it isn't obvious or easy to find. The broad path, on the other hand, is the popular route. But, no matter how many people we observe choosing the broad road, it is vital that we stick to the narrow one.

Our steps along the narrow road may be lonely. The initial step involves a drastic reversal of everything we have known in life. From there forward, the path includes a daily surrender of our natural self-centered tendencies. It's no wonder the road is less traveled.

The Road Less Traveled Leads to Real Life

One of the early church's greatest preachers, John Chrysostom (349-407) said, "The narrow path is unattractive by nature but becomes easy when we choose to follow it, because of our hope for the future."

The narrow path is the route to following Jesus Christ, and it leads to eternal life:

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he [Jesus] said, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me." (Mark 8:34, NLT)

The narrow gate is the raw reality of a daily walk with Christ. It is what the Pharisees missed and we can miss, too, if we don't surrender to the Lord's way.

Like the Pharisees, we tend to prefer the wide path. This road is paved with independence, self-righteousness, and the typical inclination toward choosing our own way. Taking up our cross means denying selfish desires. The genuine servant of God will almost always be in the minority.

Caesarius of Arles (470-543), another early church father said, "Labor is not long on the narrow road, nor is joy lengthy on the broad one. Those whom the broad way of wickedness delights, after brief joy will have endless punishment. Those who follow Christ on the narrow way, after brief tribulations will merit to reach eternal rewards."

Only the road less traveled leads to eternal life.