“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:12-14
This scripture really captured me as I’ve been slowly working my way through Matthew recently. I grew up in the church and have become pretty familiar with the gospels, and Matthew specifically. I’ve been reading it lately and asking the Holy Spirit to bring to life things that I’ve never seen or noticed before. That’s when I read this verse.
This verse has always been a little bit out there for me. It seems like the two ways Jesus is talking about are a little ambiguous. I don’t know about you but I’m the kind of person who needs things spelled out pretty clearly. For some reason I never made the connection here that the narrow way that Jesus is talking about is the way of love.
Jesus is saying that if you want to enter into life you need to take the narrow gate of love.
Love can be a difficult task. True, selfless, unconditional love requires us to give up everything for someone else. It requires us to put others first. It calls us down a narrow road toward life. I’ll explain to you what is catching my attention about this passage…
Everything in life that gives any type of real reward is difficult. Losing weight and becoming healthy is difficult. (I’ve been trying to get on that narrow road for about 8 months now!) Working to accomplish your dreams and doing what you were made to do is hard but it leads to life! Having a happy, healthy marriage and a strong family is hard work but it’s potentially one of the most fulfilling parts of life. The reality about this life is that the harder the task, or the narrower the road, the larger the reward in the end.
Just like when we are aiming to get healthy or lose weight, we make adjustments, navigate that narrow road, and as time goes on, we receive the reward of a healthy body and lifestyle. As time passes, we have changed our minds and curbed our desire to eat bad food all the time. We find that a healthy way of life is now our desire– it’s what we want because we have seen how good it is.
For me this ties back to an earlier blog post of mine, and the idea is this:
The narrow road of any journey is the renewing of your mind.
When we believe that Jesus has reset in us our desires then we’ve started down the long and difficult road of renewing our minds. I believe that this is what Jesus is talking about here. To become love and see and treat others the way God would, you must renew your mind. You have to take steps down that road to start changing your way of thinking. I’ve seen in my own life the victories and the sign posts along the way. I love to love my wife far more now than I did when we first got married. That’s because I’m renewing my mind, I’m starting to believe what God says about me. I’m becoming love by changing what I believe about myself, and it’s really quite hard. Sometimes I feel like doing my own thing, thinking only about myself, but I let God’s truth take captive that thought and change it into the truth about who I am in God: redeemed, righteous and full of love for God and others!
I love because He first loved me!
Are you walking the narrow road of renewing your mind? Are you doing what is easiest? Or are you believing the truth about yourself in Christ? Begin to take captive your thoughts and watch as you begin to experience this life that Jesus is talking about!
P.S. How awesome is the Golden Gate Bridge? It’s a narrow road. 😉