(originally posted 9/12/2015 at littlegirlriseup.blogspot.com)
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt 7:13,14)
If anyone is like me, then at one point in their life after reading this verse they thought to themselves, “So just how narrow a gate are we talking about? How narrow is narrow?” And over the last several years, God has shown me exactly just how narrow He is talking about. For starters, if we fit in with everyone else, we are not on the narrow path. If there is not much that differentiates us from the rest of the world, our path has not been narrowed. If we are talking about Jesus more than we are acting like Jesus, our path has not been narrowed.
We are saved by grace in a moment, but we are sanctified by obedience over a lifetime. What kind of obedience does God expect from us? He expects us to cut out anything in our life that distracts us from Him or keeps us more focused on this world than the next. He expects us to cut out anything in our life that does not bring Him glory or sets us up for temptation. And He is very serious about it, so serious, that Jesus said, “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell,…If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell..” (Mark 9:45,46) That’s pretty narrow.
As Christians, we are told to “‘Come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord.” (2 Cor 6:17) To “come out of the world and be separate” means to change what you are listening to, change what you watch, change how you dress, change what you celebrate, change the people you are hanging out with, change how you treat people, how you do business and how you talk, think and act. Stop making excuses for why you do something and start submitting to the still, small voice urging you to stop. THAT is how narrow Jesus is talking about.
The kind of narrow Jesus is talking about, is the kind of narrow that comes at a cost. It may cost you your personal dreams and aspirations. It may cost you your hobbies, your favorite past-time or a whole ‘lotta things you currently like. It may cost you some friends, or even relatives (Matt 10:51). That is what Jesus meant when He said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matt 16:25) For some, it may even cost them their job. I can think of several examples just within the last few years where people lost jobs or were reprimanded because of their narrow Christian walk. Jesus warned us, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,” (Luke 14:28,29) Far too many Christians claim Jesus with their mouth, but deny Him with their lifestyle. Far too many Christians make a mockery of their own self-proclaimed faith.
The kind of narrow Jesus is talking about, draws you out of your comfort zone and is something that people are going to notice. The kind of narrow Jesus is talking about will set you apart and it comes at a cost. The question is, how many of us are actually willing to pay it? How many of us are willing to separate ourselves from the wide road and travel the narrow path? Unfortunately Jesus gives us the answer, “there are few who find it.” (Matt 7:14)