August 4 I Thursday
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” —Matthew 7:13
What is Jesus talking about in the opening verse of this devotion? He is teaching about salvation and how to get to heaven. We, however, cannot look at the opening verse in isolation to understand what the passage is conveying, but ought to consider it in context to the Gospel of Matthew. The original audience that Jesus was speaking to were His disciples and a surrounding crowd. These verses in Matthew are instructions to His disciples to become who He has called them to be, to live a life that bears fruit and to be good stewards of the gift that they have received in Jesus Christ. At the same time, Jesus was also teaching the crowd that gathered around. This passage not only serves as a warning for them of the dangers of the broad gate and road that lead to destruction, but it is also an invitation for them towards the narrow gate and road that lead to life.
Jesus is encouraging all who are listening to enter through the narrow gate, a way that leads to a fruitful life, and to consider soberly what destination they are walking toward. We could imagine the difference between the narrow and the broad like shooting a bow and arrow at a target. The round target has rings around it, and at the centre of it is a small little circle marking the target. The broad road says we can shoot the arrow anywhere; as a matter of fact, we do not even need to hit the target—just shoot the arrow in any direction. The narrow road, however, is different. It says we need to focus and aim at the little small circle there. In other words, the life that we, as Christians, should live—on the narrow road that leads to a fruitful life—takes focus and aim.
In Charles Price’s commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, he talks about speaking to an airline pilot who describes the accuracy that is needed to go from one place to another place. This airline pilot describes that just going one degree off course on the compass bearing will take the plane hundreds of miles in the wrong direction. Now think about that in light of life, because it is the same type of principle. One small bearing off the course can send us towards a life of destruction, a life that is unfruitful.
May we choose to enter through the narrow gate and stay the course, living our entire life for Jesus, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and bearing much fruit for Him.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I choose to enter through the narrow gate. Please keep my eyes focused on You and help me to stay the course. Thank You, Lord.