In life, every one is presented with two choices: We can take the easy way or we can take the hard way. Jesus said it like this, “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.” Why do only few find the gate that leads to life? No one wants to take a road that leads to death. The problem is, however, that no one particularly enjoys taking a road that is harder to travel. The easy way presents few challenges. Here, anything goes.
Jesus refers to these two choices in life as gates. That gate where anything goes He calls the easy gate. All things are “tolerated.” However, most of us know from personal experience that the easy way isn’t always the right way. It isn’t always the best way. In fact, many of these easy ways turn out to be traps with hooks that claw into us. And by the time we realize we are ensnared, we find it almost impossible to escape.
The reality is that nothing worthwhile in life comes easily. It requires discipline, hard work and courage to keep going towards a goal when things get tough. It takes perseverance to keep going even when that goal appears beyond our reach. The champions in this life are not those who gave up and turned back at the first sign of an obstacle. They are the ones who kept going even in the midst of the most daunting challenges. There can be no victory without a battle. Someone cannot be called a conqueror if he never experienced anything that needed conquering. The easy way is a way of deception. In the short run it looks like a wonderful way of achieving long term goals within short periods of time. But, if something looks too good to be true, then it usually is. It is not long before we realize that we lost more than we gained. It may have taken us longer to reach our goal if we followed the “hard” way, but we would not have lost anything in the process.
Just as these principles are seen in everyday life, it is also applicable to our eternal goal. Spiritually speaking, we also have two choices. We have the “wide” gate, which allows for any ideology, any lifestyle, and any pleasure to enter through there. But this is a road to destruction. Then there is the narrow gate. This gate leaves no room for man’s frivolity and inclination to living as he pleases. It doesn’t allow man to place himself and his wisdom above that of God. God resists the proud. To enter through this gate, we need to adhere to God’s rules of admission. Firstly, we are admitted through placing our faith in the righteousness of Christ and not our own righteousness. But some are too proud to do this. They want to have a say in the matter. They want to show that they are indeed good enough to be allowed in on their own merits. They can’t seem to understand why they have to trust in Christ. They are not all that bad. But God requires of us to lay ourselves and our own ideas of achieving righteousness aside and that we humbly embrace God’s way of making people righteous in His sight. We have to embrace His way and let go of our own. This is not easy. Our natural inclination is to elevate our own ideas, not to lay them aside. It requires humility to put our own opinions aside and to reverence God’s opinions. This may mean that when we don’t understand God’s way, we would rather doubt our own understanding than doubt the character and wisdom of God.
The Gate through which we may enter is Jesus Christ (see John 10). This Gate is the Way, the Truth and the Life. This is the Gate that leads us to our Father. This is the gate that leads us to life –eternal life in the presence of God. I grew up in a denomination that shamelessly professed to be the “Way.” But the Bible says nothing of a specific religious institution being the way. It doesn’t once say that a specific ministry is the way. The way is a Person. Jesus is the Way. Jesus is the Gate through which we may enter eternal life.
The reason why it is hard to enter through the narrow gate is because it requires of us to lay selfish ideas and ambitions aside; it requires of us to stop looking out only for our own advantage and to look out for the benefit of others as well. It requires of us to live for others and puts a death sentence on selfishness and arrogance. This is the way through which we may enter if we are to pick up our Cross (lay aside our own ambitions) and follow Jesus and His example of unselfish living. Since we are required to live for others, only few find this gate as Jesus rightly said. Too many love themselves and their material possessions way too much to sacrifice all for the sake of Christ. The incident where Jesus was approached by the rich young man is a perfect example of someone who rejected the way because he loved his riches more than he loved to help the poor and he loved his possessions too much to give it up to follow the Lord. We cannot serve God and money. Money you will find plenty of on the easy way. But if it is the Lord we desire with all our heart, we will find Him on the narrow way. “Enter through the narrow gate,” says Jesus. Here we will find eternal life. Here we will find our Lord.