David Platt, one of my favorite authors, writes that “if there were 1000 ways to God, we would want 1001.” There is but one way to God, through Jesus Christ alone. Sadly, the lost of the world believe there are other ways to God apart from Jesus. The flesh, heart, and mind of man are so opposed to the doctrine of Christ. The question we wrestle with is not so much why, in God’s wisdom and sovereignty, the gate to true life is narrow, but why do we find that so problematic.
We find this problematic because we are simple-minded crowd-followers. As Christians, the Bible states that we are sheep in desperate need of a shepherd. We are not described as being an intelligent animal such as a whale, raven, or fox. No, we are described as sheep, an animal known for it’s stupidity. Like sheep, we are prone to plummet to our deaths because we follow the herd off a cliff. We are simple and foolish, unaware of the true and eternal dangers. Praise God though that He reminds us what the Christian life will look like.
One of those marks is that the gate and path to eternity with God will be narrow. We find the narrow way so opposed to our desires because we entered this world as self-centered rebels. We never have to tell a three-year-old to stop being so UNselfish. They get it. Humans believe that they should create their own boundaries and have discovered the key or path to life. The path to life is losing your own life to follow Him.
Christ is reminding His disciples that they should prepare to walk along a narrow and thorny road that will be difficult. It will be difficult and narrow because the allurements of this world so easily captivate hearts. The lusts of the flesh will draw us and lead us to death. It is easier to listen to your heart and flesh than the commands of God. It is easy to say, “God I acknowledge what you are saying, but I think my plans are better.” Even if we don’t explicitly say that, how many of us are living in that way? We cling to our independence. Bottom line: our flesh, our hearts, and our minds don’t want to submit to another’s rule. We stubbornly resist the truth that there is only one way (through Jesus Christ) out of the rebellion and wrath we justly deserve.
Jesus is telling us that Christians will take a different path than the world. Many people willfully rush headlong through the broad road because they are enticed by their wicked desires. The world tells us to follow our hearts, but Christ says, “Follow Me”, and “If you love me you will do my commandments.” It is easier to listen to our own hearts and minds than to obey the commands of God. His design is that we be made like His Son as He molds us and prunes us. The outcome is not self-righteousness, but a joyful obedience. The road is narrow because we are being separated from the crowd. The Gospel reminds us that God lives in us to make us more like Christ. Christ was rejected by the world, as we will be. The road is narrow because it leads to life.
Written by Nick Guerra