Following the Narrow Way

Posted on January 11, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Rankin-Devotional“For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” Matthew 7:14

We should not be surprised that many are indifferent to the gospel and unresponsive to our witness. We would like to think that the world would be evangelized if we would be more diligent and faithful in sharing the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, but that is not necessarily true.

When we went overseas as missionaries I thought the pages of Acts would unfold and multitudes would be saved every day once we arrived on the shores of Indonesia. I assumed they were aware of their lostness and despairing in their search for God. Once the good news was proclaimed they would readily embrace it. However, I was disillusioned to find that most of the people in this large Muslim country were indifferent and even antagonistic to my message.

Jesus made it clear that all would not respond. People wanted the blessings, healing and deliverance from oppression, but when Jesus began to talk about sacrifice and the cost of following Him most of the crowds turned away. Jesus encouraged His listeners in this passage to enter the narrow way to find life, but He acknowledged that most would follow the broad way that leads to destruction.

We understand this passage to imply that there is no way to find eternal life except through faith in Jesus Christ. Relatively few people in the world would accept such a narrow concept. With multiple religious traditions most people embrace the idea that all roads lead to God, whichever way one chooses to follow. In our own society people believe that if they lead a moral life, are considerate of others and do a few good deeds they have earned the right to heaven.

To say that Jesus is the exclusive way to eternal life is offensive to broad-minded thinkers and is definitely not considered politically correct. Yet, He is the only one who can take away our sin. “There is no other name…by which we can be saved” (Acts 4:12). It is evident that most choose another way, their own way; Jesus said, “The way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it” (Matthew 7:13).

The comments above are obvious to any believer, but there is another issue to be considered. Do we presume to enter the narrow gate, knowing we must believe on Jesus to be saved, and then follow the broad way just like everyone else in the world. It is difficult to discern most Christians from others as we tend to compromise our convictions and enjoy the ways of the world.

It is not just a narrow gate that few will enter, but the way is narrow that leads to life. Evidence that we have entered in through Christ is apparent by how we live; contrast with the rest of the world should be evident. But don’t miss another point. It would be a mistake only to interpret this passage in terms of one’s eternal destiny, although that may be the primary lesson.

Those who follow the broad, popular, easy way of the world will find it bringing destructive consequences of conflict, pain and grief. Whereas one who follows the narrow way, walking with Jesus,busb will find life more abundant in the here and now, just as Jesus promised.

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