Have you ever wondered how narrow the narrow road is that Jesus talks about in Matthew 7:13–14?
Most of us have discovered that indeed the gate is small that leads to life. We’ve tried our best either with works of self-righteousness or with man-made philosophies to prove otherwise. But we finally came to the conclusion: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We called on the name of Jesus, entered through the narrow gate, and received salvation and eternal life.
However, as soon as we walked through the gate, we made the discovery that the road behind that gate was even more narrow than we thought. We started to walk on it thinking it might broaden as we got farther along, but it didn’t.
We looked around to see how other Christians were handling this precarious path. To our astonishment, we found out that most people who call themselves Christians had construction crews deployed on both sides of the narrow road working very hard to enlarge and widen it.
When we asked them why they were doing this, they said, “We are dealing with a modern world that has different needs and expectations than in the past. We are called to minister to people when they come to Christ, and we must do all we can to make them feel comfortable and welcome. After all, we are competing with a world out there that has everything to offer. If we tell them about picking up the cross and denying themselves or giving up everything and laying down their lives for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, we will definitely lose them. These old views of Christianity were a misunderstanding of Scripture and don’t fit any longer. As Christians we deserve the best of everything in this life as well as in the next life.”
Believing this lie, we have tried to make the narrow road wider and wider to accommodate all our wants, dreams and wishes.
To many, God has become a servant to fulfill all of our expectations. Our church buildings cost millions of dollars; our Christian programs, entertainment and resources are the best in the world; and we are very proud of these achievements. Our personal and family lives are structured to meet our desires of comfort and ease. For far too many, the narrow road has slowly become so wide that it is hard to distinguish it from the broad one!
What does all this mean for the unreached peoples of our generation who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
It means no one cares for them, no one sacrifices on their behalf and no one will tell them the wonderful news of God’s love and salvation. Have we become so self-centered and so insensitive that we can no longer hear the call of Jesus to give up our lives for those who have never heard His name?
Even if we still can hear His call, we naturally reject and walk away from anything that requires pain and suffering or that threatens our comfort.
Oh yes, we may put a $10 bill in the offering plate when a missionary speaks at our church, and we may donate a sweater for the homeless. But is that the extent of our compassion and personal involvement? If so, our heart is far, far away from the love of God, who willingly went to the cross to give His blood for our redemption.
We must remember that God Himself never enlarged His small gate or His narrow road. They remain the same as they were 2,000 years ago when Jesus first described them. In Matthew 7:14, He said that only a few will ever find this road.
That is so true. But there are even fewer who are willing to consider walking on the narrow road after they have found it. Deciding to choose the narrow path means they will have to walk alone while others enjoy traveling comfortably on their enlarged versions. Today, in a world with mega-churches and multiplied millions of Christians, only a few will ever stop to hear the call of Christ to lay down their lives for a lost world. He might ask us to go, to support missionaries, to intercede in prayer or to invest our strength as well as our means in order to win the lost. Recognizing that it will cost us a high price, we go to our church and to other believers for counsel.
There are wonderful pastors and elders who will encourage us to go and pursue God’s call. But more often than not, we are counseled to do the opposite. We are told that if we go, no one will be able to replace us in the fellowship; and if we give our resources to missions, the church’s own programs will suffer. If we get involved in pursuing missions, we won’t be able to do justice to our church duties.
Maybe you’ve heard this call of Jesus on your life, but you were truly concerned over who would take your place if you “sold out completely.” Believe me, there are others who are just as qualified as you who can take your place. But there are so very, very few who know or understand what you know. George Verwer, the founder of Operation Mobilization, once said, “It might be hard to find one in 10,000 or a million who will understand that half of the world has never heard the name Jesus and are plunging into eternal hell, and who will give their lives away to die and be unknown, unnoticed for their sake.”
This statement is so true. Only a few will ever hear the call and choose the narrow road that leads to life, not only for themselves but for the lost world as well.
You plus God make a majority. Choose the narrow path—the Son of God left His footprints on it. At the end of the road, you will meet Him.
What are the things that are holding you back?
Reflecting His Image © 1998, 2004 by K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.