Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). The concept of the “two ways” appears often in the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 11:26; 30:15; Jeremiah 21:8; Psalms 1) – one that leads to life and the other that leads to death.
In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus invites His followers to accept His principles as the working principle for their lives, and teaches them the way to begin, and where to begin. He states that He is the “door” (John 10:7, 9) and the “way” (John 14:6). And He adds that he who would enter into the kingdom of heaven, who would “have life” and “have it more abundantly,” must enter by Him for there is no other way (John 10:7–10).
Why Is the Way That Leads to Life Difficult?
When a believer accepts the Lord, Satan rages a war against him to win him back to his camp. This war comes in the form of difficulties, persecution, and trials. Some of these trials will even come from family members and friends. At one time, many of Jesus’ followers left Him, and from that time on, He stood more and more in the shadow of the cross (John 6:66).
But the new believer is not left to fight the battles alone, for the Lord promises, “I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” (Psalm 91:15; Luke 10:19). Although many are the afflictions of the righteous, the Lord will deliver him out of them all (Psalm 34:19; Proverbs 14:16). Some will be called to suffer for their faith and they will be rewarded accordingly, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).
The believer who would enter before the locking of the gate must “strive” by continuing in a course of action despite the difficult pathway that leads home (Luke 13:24). The narrowness of the gate calls for self-denial, faith (Hebrews 11:1), perseverance (Galatians 6:9), Patience (Romans 12:12), bravery (Ezra 10:4) and crucifying the evil nature (Matthew 16:24).
This is a high price and some are not willing to pay it. But the faithful have God as their Father and will resemble Him in character (1 John 3:1–3; John 8:39, 44). They will endeavor, by His grace to forsake sin (Romans 6:12–16) and refuse to submit their wills to the devil (1 John 3:9; 5:18). The gospel invitation is extended to all for whosoever will may enter in (Revelation 22:17).
The Prize of Eternal Life
Believers must persevere in this life for the “hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:2). The great purpose in man’s existence is that he “should seek the Lord, if haply” he “might feel after him, and find him” (Acts 17:27). Sadly, most men are busy working “for the food which perishes” (John 6:27), for the water for which” when the drink, they “will thirst again” (John 4:13). They “spend money for that which is not bread” and “wages for what does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2).
Jesus admonishes His followers saying, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Men are too often tempted to make “all these [material] things” the main goal of their search in life, in the vain hope that God will be forgiving, and, at the end of their lives grant them eternal life. But Christ desires all to make first things first, and assures them that things of lesser value will be supplied to them according to their needs.
In His service,