A Tale of Two Gates

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”  (Matthew 7:13-14, ESV)

This is, for me, one of the most difficult passages in all of scripture to reconcile with the 21st Century Western Church. Becoming a Christian has never been easier. Access to the scriptures has never been higher. And expectations of new believers has probably never been lower.

That’s not to say that church work is easier. We spend billions of dollars to make our sanctuaries more like a concert venue. We choose only the coolest of musicians and singers. Our pulpits have become stages—with the latest in lighting, and even fog—upon which we promote our Savior.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not necessarily against using the “latest and greatest.” As a musician and Audio Technician, I love and appreciate much of the music that is circulating through our houses of worship. I’m blessed when I hear some of the old hymns being revitalized and made, perhaps, more relevant to this generation.

I have to question, however, whether of our concert-venue services are providing an experience that lacks fellowship and accountability—providing dessert before the meal, and the meal before the work of growing the food.

When Jesus said that the Christian life is hard and few find it, was He only talking about Christian life in the first half of the first century? Do the words in red remain as true now as they were when they were first heard leaving the lips of the Christ? If so, I am much in need of repentance. And I am much in need of repentance!

Jesus spoke of two gates. I imagine that one is made of shiny gold and covered with beautiful, sparkly gemstones. This gate looks amazing! And when it swings open it welcomes the masses. No worries, overcrowding is not an issue. The gate is wide. We never inquire where the gate leads. It’s beautiful! It must lead somewhere good.

I picture the other gate as constructed of weather-worn wood. It is secured by rusty hinges and a rusty latch. There’s not much of a pathway leading up to it the ground is rocky, with loops of tree roots hidden just enough by the copious weeds to threaten a fall. Things don’t really look much better on the other side of the gate. Rough ground. Dangerous terrain. A difficult passage to be sure.

It’s not hard to understand why one would choose the beautiful gate. We all want to have beautiful, tidy lives. I know that I sure do! The problem is not that Jesus said the narrow way might be difficult. It’s that He said it would be difficult.

I’ve got to tell you: this is a hard saying. The question is, are we going to choose a path that is easy regardless of the destination? Or are we going to choose to walk a different path? A difficult path.

I’m still not entirely sure what to make of Jesus’ words in this passage. I genuinely struggle with what it means to choose the narrow gate. It just keeps going around in my mind that it’s not supposed to be easy.

So why does it seem to be?

How does this passage make you feel? Do you find it hard to be a Christian? Let me know by leaving a comment.

These are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!

Image by Brian Clark from Pixabay

7 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Gates

Add yours

  1. The way I view it–solely mine–is the narrow path is giving up ourselves and our fleshy desires.
    We are surrounded by a world that is filled with competitiveness, riches, pride, ungodliness and all that the heart of sin desires. The whole focus should be turned to the fruits of the Spirit, and yet, we’d rather have the world and its sinful luxury.
    What a mess we are!!
    I believe that Holy Spirit is always pushing us towards the narrow gate, even though our hearts of sin, in a world dominated by it, are constantly pulling us away from that gate…
    Enter Jesus Christ!!
    He alone is the gate, and the great I AM…
    If our minimal faith (or great) is truly in Him (and only He knows that true faith in each of us), I believe He has a welcoming love that waits at gate of the narrow path

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the insights, Damon! I agree that He alone is our gate. And we are faced with the challenges of growth in a world with values diametrically opposed to those of Christ. Our struggles with our own sins never seem to go away. My question is, are we doing enough to communicate the expectations of growth as presented in the New Testament? I’m not suggesting a shiny new legalism, but a sincere desire to follow Jesus in everything we do.

      Thank you so much for your comment. Your thoughts will be useful to all that read them, me included.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Are we ever doing enough?

        I see that, in this world, no one is good–not one. But through his imperfect people, I have gathered so much of the true nature of God.
        A man who was filthy and didn’t ask me for anything, whom may or may not have known Christ as his Lord, had told me that I didn’t know the measure of meaningfulness my handout of just a few quarters had meant to him. Yes, we did pray in Jesus’ name. My point being, I don’t think we could ever (in this life) be all that we are supposed to be for God….
        Enter Jesus, again!!
        He is the deal of our deal with the Lord, for He did not die in vain, and we can never add anything to His finished work for us, BECAUSE HE LOVED US.
        Growth, in my opinion and experience, is to love, love and love some more. To bear the fruits (Gal. 5:22-33).
        When the man thanked me for the kindness that stemmed from the acknowledgement of His presence within my battered and tattered heart that is sinful in nature, I was doing His work. Not a measured work, but what God had already blessed me with. Listening to Him instead of thinking we can perform enough (Jesus already performed) is the difference between religion and relationship with the living God in us.

        Liked by 1 person

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