The narrow gate.
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (NIV)
Our sinful nature has made us selfish and egocentric. Without thinking, our natural way to imagine life is to do what is pleasant. More than this, our natural social imaginary is that others should also be doing what is necessary to facilitate our ease and not hinder it. To choose what is painful is not natural nor easy. Consider how hard it is to start going to the gym and remain faithful. It is not pleasant. At some point, we might decide the results of going to the gym is pleasant, but in the beginning, it is just pain and more time away from work and family.
It is completely unnatural to give up our agenda of pursuing an easy and pleasant life to become a servant to others. But life in me can only be found by helping you find the life God has for you. The narrow gate hides behind selflessness that embraces servanthood and forfeits the natural way of personal pleasure.
Jesus illuminated the narrow gate that leads to our best life when he pushed away from the table, removed his outer clothing, wrapped a towel around His waist, and washed the nasty feet of the disciples including Judas. He is the way to abundant life. Emulating Christ’s heart and behavior will bring the highest form of living. However, the methodology to achieve the apex contradicts what we naturally believe to be the way to our best life.
Not only does it contradict what we believe to give us the best life, but it is also difficult and unpleasant. Our natural disposition toward this life is hostility. It’s like having to choose between watching tv while eating Blue Bell or digging ditches to keep the floodwaters from rising into our neighbor’s home. We all know it is a better thing to go and dig ditches, but this is not our natural desire.
To find the narrow gate and walk through it, we must first be aware of how difficult it is to find it. It is rejecting our natural self and choosing to do what is right even when it means there is no benefit for ourselves but the opportunity to do good. This requires a transformative power to remake us that our natural disposition would be undone through the adoption of Christ’s posture toward life. If it is this hard, let us be diligent in prayer, meditation, and gathering with the saints in the church.
Prayer: Lord, undo me that I might live like you and find the narrow gate of abundant life. Amen.