I grew up in Sunday School and have been exposed to the Bible all my life. One would think that after so many decades of being exposed to scripture that it would all make sense to a Christian after so long. That’s hardly ever the case.
One of the scriptures that really confused me for a long time is Matthew 7:13-14:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Here’s what I had in mind for a very long time: “Lord, if you’re loving and good, why make the way to you narrow? Couldn’t it had been the other way around?”
Wrong Notion: God Wants You To Earn His Favor
Life is tough isn’t it? We face trials- financial difficulties, relational hurt, ministry burn-out, career failure and many other things. On top of that things get harder when God gives us commands that just seem to make life harder (Anyone else feel that way or am I the only one? I’m such a sinner)
I’ve heard a lot of believers interpret this life truth in the light of Matthew 7:13-14 this way: ”Life is hard and the way is narrow because you have to work for God’s favor, protection, provision and even salvation.” Sound quite anti-Gospel? That’s because it is. How do we see the parable of the narrow gate in the light of grace? We get that by understanding two simple reasons why God makes the way to life narrow.
The Narrow Gate Makes Us Focus On Christ
I’ve been playing this Mobile sniper app game a few weeks now. Like any game, the first few rounds were completely easy. I could shoot bad guys while watching TV, talking with someone or watching Alexa.
But as the stages advanced shots got trickier and narrower. At some point I had to stop multitasking to get shots right. It made me atart thinking how God wants it to be the same way with us. If life were easy and the way to Him was wide, we would not be compelled to focus on Christ. But hard times and narrow gates cause us to seek Him more, trust Him more and love Him more.
It’s not because God wants us to highlight the narrow gate.
Too many of us focus on the harshness of life and difficulty of the Christian walk. But if there’s anything we can learn from the narrow gate it’s to focus on the One that causes us to walk through the narrow gate.
The Narrow Gate Magnifies Christ’s Ability
What’s the best way to get across a tightrope? Easy. Hop on the back of a tight rope walker! When we can’t do something, we usually depend on others to do it for us.
That’s exactly what God has in mind when He made the way to Him narrow. It’s not because He wants us to have a hard time getting to Him. It’s because He wants us to hop on Christ and trust on His finished work on the cross to get through life.
Do you want to brave the difficulties and challenges? Think you can win in life on your own? Guess what? You can’t. But where we are unable to succeed, Christ has already won. The way is narrow yes, but Jesus has made a way for us to walk confidently through harsh and narrow paths. Where we are weak and limited, He is ultimately strong and able.
Patrick Mabilog, patrickmabilog.org