Thought- He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” – Missionary Jim Elliot
Scripture- “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.” Matthew 7:13-14
Insight: In day 32 of learning to apply biblical principles to our daily life, what we are referring to as Practical Christianity, let’s consider what it means to walk the narrow road of the Christian life in a secular world that more and more rejects it. No one likes being unpopular. It is human nature to want others to not only like us but also to admire and follow us. Deep down we have a desire for popularity, especially as youngsters. In High School, in many ways, it is how you are measured. However, in the culture we live in today, if you are a true follower of Christ, you can expect rejection, ridicule and scorn. The scripture above lays out two distinct choices that we have during our lifetimes and uses the analogy of roads and gates to make its point. One gate is wide and has a broad road but leads to destruction. It is easy to get through this gate and onto this road and many will follow this path because it appears alluring and easy to follow. But like many things in life, it is an illusion and it is deceptive in its allure and it will ensnare many and leave them hopeless in the end. The other gate is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few will choose to go this way, but in the end they will be rewarded because this road leads to life. It doesn’t have much appeal as it seems like a hard way to go through life, but for those who persevere, the end will be very much worth the struggle.
So which road will we chose? I think all of us, if we are being honest, of course want to take the path that seems the easiest and has the least amount of resistance. We want our lives to be worry free. We don’t want to miss out on anything that we feel we deserve and we certainly don’t like the idea of denying ourselves anything that we want. We want to be the masters of our domain. But the Bible tells us that the narrow road following Christ will cost us something, and that because He himself was persecuted that we also can expect persecution if we follow him. John 15:20 confirms this for us “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”
So what does it take to go through the small gate and the narrow road and make it to the end of our journey victorious? That is a question that may be different for each person as we all have unique gifts and thus unique challenges that will appear as stumbling blocks created by the adversary to thwart our efforts. I believe however there are common attributes that we all need to make it to the end of our journey on the narrow road successfully. Many of these are spelled out by the Apostle Paul in the Bible as critical to finishing our race and include: Perseverance, focus, perspective, endurance, trust, grace, humor, compassion, hope, faith and love. Once we realize that the narrow road leads to real life, as we die to our fleshly desires and live by the Spirit, we will gain momentum and appreciate the beauty of all the situations we find ourselves in. We learn to embrace the uncertainty that this life offers us and we view each day expectantly, not wanting to miss anything God has in store for us. We are running towards an eternal prize that waits at the end of the road that is worth any hardships that come our way along the path. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 sums it up perfectly when it says “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Prayer: Father God, gives us the strength and determination to follow the narrow road that leads to life, despite all the ridicule and rejection we face, when so many others travel on the broad road that looks so appealing but ultimately leads to their destruction. Give us the love you have shown us to share with others, even those who mock us. Help us to never lose sight of how great you are and how much you are worth every bit of pain when endure on the narrow road. We pray in Jesus name. Amen!