Have you ever read a passage in the Bible several times and keep reading it in the same mindset you always have? Unfortunately, there are several passages that I thought I understood, only to learn later that I did not fully grasp them in the context in which they were written.
The passage I want to point out to you today is Matthew 7:13, 14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
These are familiar verses to many as we have often used them to describe the choice a person makes about eternity. I believe there is application that can be made for that, but for me, I was humbled by these two verses - in the context as well as the personal responsibility I receive from them.
These verses are part of the larger passage known as the Sermon on the Mount. This was a time that Christ was spending with His disciples to show them who they were supposed to be and not just keep doing what they were already doing. It was an intense course on what Christ said earlier about helping them to become what He intended them to become. With that context in mind, and knowing it was written to those already seeking after Christ, I desire to make three applications that I learned through these two verses:
- This text shows Christ is giving us a personal invitation for a call to action. Christ says, "Enter ye ..." There is a decision that Christ is inviting us to make. I cannot just claim salvation and "coast" through my spiritual life. I am either going through the gate that is lived for Him or I am choosing to live a carnal life. Either way, I must decide and move. It is not a head decision either. It is a decision that then leads to action. I cannot stand and hope. I must decide and move. Living for Christ is a result of entering.
- I must actively seek this gate or the way that this gate leads to. Once I have made my decision, I must then actively pursue the right way. Notice that Christ says at the end of verse 14, "... and few there be that find it." Many have wanted to follow Christ, but perhaps have given up too easily. Maybe they considered the cost too high. Perhaps they allowed the flesh to guide their thinking instead of allowing Christ to change them. I must seek and pursue until I am on the path and stay on it. In application, what is my daily pursuit? Fulfillment of selfishness or submission to godliness? One is done by many. The other is done by few.
- Once I decide, seek after, and find, I then must commit myself. It is not enough to decide in the affirmative. I must decide, pursue, and commit. I must be submissive to all that Christ leads me to do. Christ expects nothing less. This does not mean attaining sinless perfection and once I fall, I am off the straight and narrow. It just means that I am committed to staying right and doing right. Falling does not lead to quitting. It means I get up and still commit to my pursuit of godliness and being conformed to His image.
I pray that today you are committing to being on the path that leads to understanding our Savior and His will for our lives. What could happen in our homes, our church, and our world if those claiming the name of Christ went even further in their devotion and desire to be like Christ? May we not just discuss it, but actually answer the invitation to "Enter ..."
Written by Kenn Winn