God has chosen you, now you must choose God.
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13,14
Jesus taught that few people will take the hard road, the one entered through the narrow gate. The easy road is much more accessible and practically everyone will choose that path. And why not? Why climb four flights of stairs to your apartment when an elevator is available? Why walk to work when you can take your car? You’d only choose the more labor intensive options because you recognize the benefit they would provide – a healthier body, saving of money, less of a carbon footprint.
Choosing to follow Jesus through the narrow gate on the hard road will lead you to life, that’s quite a benefit!
Have you seen that commercial with Jimmy Fallon and a baby? The one where he asks “Who wouldn’t want an extra $50?” He is dumbfounded when the baby doesn’t want it because the obvious answer to the question is everyone wants an extra $50.
Who wouldn’t want life? It seems an easy choice: life or destruction? But destruction wears a mask. She pretties herself up in guises such as pleasure, or a career advancement, or ease. “Who wouldn’t want a job promotion?” “Why not have that 2nd martini?” “I’m tired, I deserve to veg-out in front of the TV.” It’s a wide and inviting gate, and has been said, it is a slippery slope.
The narrow gate that leads to life requires a commitment to the journey. Anyone who has tried to lose weight, kick an addition, or save money knows how easy it is to start on the path to life. An intense emotion awakes the desire within us for a change. But when the emotion fades it is difficult to remain committed to the goal. This is where it gets hard.
There will be times you’ll want to turn back, the road seems too steep; some moments you’ll want to sit down, it seems as if there is no end in sight; you’ll get exhausted, confused; you’ll question why you even entered this narrow gate. What will keep you motivated to continue to put one foot in front of the other?
The writer of the book of Hebrews tell us the answer.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Elle, keep your attention focused on the joy that is set before you, remind yourself of why you’ve chosen this road: Love has beckoned and you’ve said yes. You wouldn’t have become the great pianist you are unless you endured hours of practice. I would have never finished a marathon if I quit training because it made me tired or sore. Fix your eyes on the prize, life in God’s kingdom, and let this energize and sustain you on the narrow way.
With you on the journey,