August 5 I Friday
“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” —Matthew 7:14
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encourages His disciples to enter through the narrow gate and road because it is a way that will lead to a fruitful life. About the narrow way in The Cost of Discipleship, the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “To be called to a life of extraordinary quality, to live up to it, and yet to be unconscious of it is indeed a narrow way. To confess and testify to the truth as it is in Jesus, and at the same time to love the enemies of that truth, His enemies and ours, and to love them with the infinite love of Jesus Christ, is indeed a narrow way. To believe the promise of Jesus that His followers shall possess the earth, and at the same time to face our enemies unarmed and defenceless, preferring to incur injustice rather than to do wrong ourselves, is indeed a narrow way. To see the weakness and wrong in others, and at the same time refrain from judging them; to deliver the gospel message without casting pearls before swine, is indeed a narrow way. The way is unutterably hard, and at every moment we are in danger of straying from it.”
As Bonhoeffer so eloquently puts it, the narrow way is difficult and hard. In fact, many of us are in danger of straying from it. Challenges are going to come, and it is not going to be easy. The values in the kingdom of God are not the values of this earthly world. Jesus meant for His disciples to be set apart. Some have said it this way: “We are meant to be in the world but not of the world.”
But how can we enter through the narrow gate and travel on the narrow road? Bonhoeffer answers, “If we regard this way as one we follow in obedience to an external command, if we are afraid of ourselves all the time, it is indeed an impossible way. But if we behold Jesus Christ going on before step by step, we shall not go astray.” We cannot find or walk on this narrow road consistently without Jesus—that is the bottom line. Any time we try to do anything by ourselves we are going to fail, but with God all things are possible. As we walk the narrow way, we will not stray to the left or to the right if we do not take our eyes off of Jesus.
May we enter through the narrow gate and travel on the narrow road, knowing that we are not doing this on our own strength, but with Jesus in every step of the way.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for being with me every step of the way. Help me not stray to the left or the right, but keep my eyes fixed upon You. Amen.