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. Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)
I have lived this passage over the past several weeks. I’m beginning to see more clearly how it creates growing pains to enter the narrow gate (Jesus). He has stretched my faith and desire to serve Him above ALL else. The gate that is wide (the gate of this world) is so easy to fit through, simple to enter, doesn’t ruffle feathers or question anyone about their motives, BUT leads to destruction. Destruction of so much more than we realize until it is too late. As we are herded through the wide gate, trusting only the ones we follow behind and not our Lord and Savior our core values, Christian principles and faith in Jesus is crushed.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)
“I never knew you!” are NOT the words I want to hear from my Lord when I see Him face to face. But how do we discern between letting go or standing up, fighting back or sitting passively by, giving up and walking away or standing by my convictions and living that radical life for Jesus? He said to love your neighbor as we do ourselves, but He also says to love Him above ALL else. Praying and praying for clarity and direction on when to let my tongue go and when to hold it. Knowing it is an evil weapon if led by me and not the Lord. Trying so hard and still getting it wrong. The lyrics of that song Should I Stay or Should I Go by Clash keep running through my mind as I face these different situations. “Should I stay or should I go now? If I stay there will be trouble. And if I stay it will be double. So come on and let me know. Should I stay or should I go?”
I don’t have all the answers and I won’t get it right all the time, but I pray for God to direct me and shape me so that going through the narrow gate feels more comfortable than the wide gate. That my heart would beat only for Him. That my trust in Him would guide my thoughts and actions. That He would take my heart and revise it to look more like His. A heart than doesn’t put comfort, self and the world above Him. A heart that only cares what He says & thinks and not what the world would have me believe. I pray we all start looking more to Jesus and the example He set for us when He walked this earth so we enter the narrow gate!
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)