“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.”-Matthew 7:13-14
Following God isn’t easy. The gate is small; “I am the way, the truth and they life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6) There is only one entrance, Jesus. It’s a gate that all are invited to go through but few actual do because they feel offended at the idea that there is only one way. And once you enter through the gate, the path itself is narrow because it is a path already determined by God; “For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
I fear that sometimes when we share our faith, as Christians, we share that everything is great because we don’t want people to get turned off of God. We’re also fearful that God will get mad at us if we aren’t honest about our feelings. God knows that His path isn’t easy, Jesus clearly states that in Matthew. It’s not news to Him that it’s hard to follow His path so let’s not apologize for and feel we have to hide the challenges. Instead, let’s share our lives at new levels of transparency so that people around us can see both the struggles AND the way that God is overcoming those struggles in our lives.
So what does it mean to actually follow God? What does the narrow path look like? As He always does, God gives us a very clear picture of His path if we’re willing to find it.
- God’s path requires an immediate response.
- Matthew 4:18-22: Jesus said to Peter and his brother, “Follow me” and they immediately left their job and followed.
- Matthew 9:9: Jesus came to Matthew and said, “follow me” and he got up right then and followed.
- Following God has top priority in our lives over our desires and obligations.
- Matthew 8:21-22: A disciple asks if he can go bury his father and Jesus replies to follow Him and not worry about burying his dad.
- Matthew 16:24: Jesus explains that following Him means dying to ourselves.
- Following God isn’t comfortable.
- Matthew 8:19-20: Jesus explains that He has no home, no creature comforts.
- Matthew 10:38-39 Jesus explains that following Him means carrying our own cross.
I believe that being salt and light to a hurt and dark world means that we are authentic and truthful about what it means to follow Jesus. It is not day after day after day of happiness and guess what, God never said it would be. Following Jesus is a choice that I make every moment of my life. It’s choosing to stay on the narrow path when the path gets hard to navigate. It’s choosing to trust that God is with me when I can’t see the next step. It’s choose to trust that God will protect me when the next step is jumping off of a cliff. It’s choosing to praise God for the path when the path is painful. And finally, it’s choosing to share my journey with the people around me so that they can see God in every step I’m taking.
My prayer is that you have found the small gate and the narrow path and that you fully grasp that God is well aware of the challenges following Him brings. Embrace and bless the challenges, don’t rail against them. God’s way really is the only way to live and He’s faithful to get you through every single challenge along the path. Trust Him. Praise Him. Declare Him. There is so much deep and true freedom in following the narrow path because you have no control other than to choose to stay and to live unchained.
I hope you feel how much God loves you today. If you need a prayer partner, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be thrilled to pray with and for you.