Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Following the crowd is usually pretty easy. The wide gate and broad road is crowded with lots of people who will cheer you on if you go with the flow of culture and fit in with the latest ideas. It’s Easy Street, and when you go there, no one will criticize you or push you aside or call you foolish. That is, so long as you follow the ways of the world and stay on the broad road with everyone else.
Following Jesus, on the other hand, takes courage, perseverance and faith. He told us it won’t be easy. Jesus is the small gate through which we must enter, and God’s word is the narrow road that leads to life. The way of life is narrow not because Jesus wants to keep people out, but because going that way requires faith and devotion. It means ignoring the crowd, leaving the wide way of the world and choosing instead the often difficult way of God. Following Jesus calls for submission and obedience. It requires denying yourself and taking up your cross. Walking down the narrow road means accepting God’s will for your life, instead of insisting on your own desires.
You will have lots of opportunities to decide which road to take. The temptation to follow the crowd down Easy Street will always be there. You might even have friends or family members who think you are foolish to keep carrying your cross down the narrow way of following Jesus. Truth is, you may have taken an occasional detour down the broad road. We all have. But if you turn back to Jesus and the wisdom of God’s word, you will find the way of life again. It can be hard to stay on that path, but Jesus promises you that it leads to a better life and to an everlasting life.
Father, help me to stay focused on You and the way forward that You know is best. Forgive me for going astray and wanting an easier way through life. Give me strength and courage to follow Jesus, especially when it feels like I am the only one. I ask this in His good name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian