“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 (RSV).
Choice, pure choice; but not a choice that people choose. Jesus strikes a truthful chord in telling of the nature of life throughout the Sermon on the Mount, but ever so poignantly here, right here, in contrasting the life of those firmly ensconced in the world as compared with those genuinely in God.
The plain truth is very many confessing Christians have never entered through the narrow gate, and if they have, they’ve done so as a distant memory, enshrined in baby belief. Yet, baby belief—by virtue of its easiness—is not adherent to the maturity of faith through the furnace of suffering, trial and despair—and beyond—toward true life.
We are ironically ever ardent in our syncretism. We insist on our stylised belief at the loss of true Spirituality—the radical life Jesus came to give. Many offend the word “radical” for the normalising of it.
How do we fit through that narrow gate with all the baggage we keep and carry? How do we see the gate in our travels? It’s easy to wander past it—like the small town; one blink and it’s missed. We not only must fit through we must see where it is for we blindly scream past it—focused on the things that lead us scatteringly away.
Many miss the way. They choose not to wrangle with and explore the truth—even many who should know better. Like sheep to the slaughter they go in laughing, cheering, and reviling themselves. And they’re oblivious to the very real peril in their midst.
Let’s see… narrow and wide gates; an easy way to destruction for the many; a hard way to life for the few. This is the language of paradox. But, we can understand the comparison. The images are stark and we’re forced again; pick your way. Choose now. We can just as easily choose and find life as opposed to death.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.
General Reference: John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount – The Bible Speaks Today series (Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1978), pp. 193-96.