This past week, I had the pleasure to drive on some very narrow roads. I don’t think these were quite 2 lanes. They stretched out for miles, with some sharp twists and turns, and there were some really tall corn stalks on both sides. Fortunately, I was the only car out there (most of the time) but when I did meet someone, I was praying hard as my tires touched grass just to get by unscathed.
Driving on these roads made me think of a scripture:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14 NASB).
As I thought about this, I realized that there are many applications:
- There are 2 instances of the word “narrow” in the scripture above. The first one is describing the gate. The Greek word used can actually be translated as “narrow”. Then, just one verse later, the word is used to describe the way (road or path). This time, Matthew uses an entirely different Greek word that is more accurately translated as difficult. Interestingly, the Greek word translated as “small” is the same word translated as “narrow” in the previous verse. The NLT translates these verses as: “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
Now that is starting to sound like my corn lined street! It would have been tempting to drive in the center of that road rather than stay on my side. But, I couldn’t see over the tall corn, so, if another vehicle was approaching from the other direction as I was going around one of those tight corners, I would not have been able to see them until it was too late. This is very much like the narrow, difficult road that leads to everlasting life. The road is not easy, so it takes faith in Jesus to navigate the way for us.
- If you are driving along and decide to see how well you would do without holding on to the steering wheel, you would find that you would begin to drift to the right or to the left. If you don’t make a correction, you will soon go right off the road. Even if your car did stay steady on the road, at some point, there will be a turn or curve in the road. If you are not monitoring that, your car will continue in the same direction even though the road has changed course.
When I was in my early 20’s, I was driving home along a familiar route. I am not sure what happened, but I was probably speeding, and I probably took my eyes off the road. The next thing I know is that the road curved, but my car did not follow suite. I hopped the curb and was driving on the grass between the road and a barbwire fence. As I tried to make the correction necessary to re-enter the road, I noticed an amazing light show coming through my passenger window. When the car came to a stop, it had entered the fence line, and there was barbwire all over my car. The light show I had witnessed were the sparks generated by the fence stripping all the paint off of on side of my car.
We need to be intentional with the way we navigate through this life. Every twist and turn, every bump in the road must be properly accounted for. Nobody accidently makes it through life and finds themselves in Heaven. (Oh, how did I get here?) When you are not intentional, then accidents happen, just like my entanglement with the fence.
- There are 2 ways of doing everything in life. The “Wide” way, and the “Narrow” way. As Christians who are trying to live righteously, there is not a lot of wiggle room. Righteousness is a narrow road. This is the way everything in your life should be evaluated.
I hear a lot of Christians who bad-mouth or bash our elected officials. The President takes a lot of this criticism. I don’t have to ever agree with him, but I need to be careful of the way I speak because the way that leads to life is narrow. It is easy to join in the criticisms, especially if you disagree with the policies, but the road to Heaven is difficult.
Driving laws, including speed limits, need to be obeyed. When it comes to living righteously, the path is narrow, and there is no wiggle room to navigate any old way. I know Christians who say that it is not really speeding if you are within 5 MPH of the speed limit (e.g. 75 in a 70). Really? Does that mean it is not really stealing if the value of the item is less than $5? The posted speed limit is a law. We are not to go faster. Stop signs are not merely a suggestion. The law says that we are to come to a complete stop at them, not just slow down and roll on through.
These are just a couple of examples, there are many others, but I won’t belabor the point. Every action we take needs to be looked at through the lens of “Wide” and “Narrow”. As Christians, we are to be different than the world around us, and not just blending in. There are no such things as “Chameleon Christians”! We need to live for Jesus in an intentional way.
I have listed 3 applications of this scripture, and I know there are more. This scripture has important teaching in it with wide applications. Please list any other applications you wish to share. Also, any thoughts to what I mentioned above?