This morning was the last part (Matthew 7) of the Sermon on the Mount. Like the first two chapters, there is a TON in here – about judging others, holiness, searching, how we treat others, the fruit of our labors, and about what foundation we have for our lives. There were also two verses about which “gate” we will choose…(verses 13-14)
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
There is a choice here. There are different paths ahead of us and we make choices about which one we will follow. In fact, pretty much all of what is around this in chapter 7 is about our choices – whether we will search for God in our lives, whether we will treat others as we wish to be treated, how we deal with the holy, what kind of fruit do we want to offer to the world, where we plant our foundations, and so forth. All of them choices that we make (pretty much every day).
But these words in 13-14 really capture the path of discipleship for me – the narrow gate is a harder path. But it is the one that leads to life.
I took this picture recently on a walk with my dog. I came to this place where there were two paths I could take. One was a decent trail but not all that exciting. The other was a much more interesting trail – lots more ups and downs, better views, and so forth. So, I chose the more interesting one. But here’s the thing…that day it was a hard trail not only because of the things I knew but there were a lot of really muddy spots and areas that were much more difficult to traverse (especially since I didn’t want to have to give my dog a bath as soon as I got home). It was definitely more difficult with all that thrown in but it was worth it – my legs felt like they got a good workout, there was creative work that I had to do along the way, and Scout found lots to sniff along the way.
So, I am grateful that I took the “narrow gate” that day and I pray for the courage to choose that path every day in how I seek to follow Jesus and in how I try to share Jesus in deed and in word.