“Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (CEV).
These verses make it clear that most people don’t think further than the life they are living now here on earth. You also see that there are two possible choices you can make, and the results are completely different – life on the one side and destruction on the other side. But because one of the “roads” looks much easier when you first see it, most people choose the easier one. To make the right choice is extremely important – Jesus says that the choices you make now, decide how your eternity will be.
In Romans 9:18 (NIV) the Apostle Paul writes, “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” It is God’s mercy and goodness that speaks to people and causes them to repent. This is only possible because Jesus died on the cross for every sinner.
God showed this when Jesus took His last breath – the sun became dark and there was a violent earthquake. At this exact moment, the curtain in the temple suddenly tore from top to bottom.
The symbolic meaning of this was enormous. Now people could have peace with God through Jesus’ death on the cross, and the tearing of the curtain showed that the “new and living way” had been opened for people to be saved through Jesus’ life! You can read this in Romans 5:10 and Hebrews 10:20. This is the “hard road to life” that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7. He invited His disciples to follow Him on this road, and the only way to do so, is to go in through the narrow gate.
What does it cost me to go in through the narrow gate?
What are the conditions for going in through the narrow gate? Jesus Himself explained what it costs to follow Him on the narrow road: “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Luke 14:33 (NIV). This means that it costs you everything. And the most important of this is our “own will”, which has to be left at the gate of this narrow road for ever. Jesus calls this to “hate your own life”. (Luke 14:26.)
Obeying this condition is the only way to be a disciple and keep that connection with Jesus. This means that every feeling of bitterness – no matter how right you think it is – has to be given up. Earthly ambitions, or expectations on “how my life should be” also need to be given up. The same with how you think you should be treated by others. Whatever it takes to keep a pure heart and keep that burning love for Christ – even if it means that friends or family don’t understand what you’re doing and saying.
This is where the wide road starts looking like a much nicer road to go compared to the very strict conditions for going in through the narrow gate. But the result of choosing the easier road is destruction and loss.
What is the result if I don’t enter through the narrow gate?
Even if you have repented and look like a good Christian, you can still easily go through the wide gate if you don’t see that just looking like a good person will not help you to overcome sin and the terrible results of sin. Why? Because no amount of self-control can keep your old self, which is being corrupted by its misleading desires, from growing more corrupt as time goes by. (Ephesians 4:22; 1 Timothy 6:10; Romans 6:19.)
Going on the wide road can only end in destruction – but if you give up everything and follow Jesus, you will end up with a glorious, eternal life.
Break free from sin - go in through the narrow gate
If you have a true hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6), if you are sick and tired of always failing, the invitation to go in through the narrow gate is the chance of a lifetime – a chance to break free from sin and all the unhappiness that goes with it once and for all.
Of course, this means that you can no longer hold on to even a little bit of bitterness. The inner suffering that you experience when you say No to the anger and bitterness you are tempted to will not last long, but the fruits of the Spirit that will take their place will last forever. In any case, no one has ever become happy by holding on to bitterness and anger .
This life where we always say No to sin is something we need to be busy with full-time. Every day we need to fight an inner battle, resisting every form of sin. The Bible calls this the good fight of faith. It is a good fight, a fight that leads to a happy life, now and for all eternity.
There is something very pleasant about people that have thrown every burden on the Lord, who have become brave warriors for God in the fight against their own sinful nature. They love Jesus with all their heart and it isn’t hard to see that the narrow road has made them truly happy.
So why not give up everything, go in through the narrow gate and join them on the road that leads to life?