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“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt 7: 13 – 14).

I used to think that this was about people becoming Christians and not pursuing other religions. I think it includes that interpretation, but I also believe there is more to it.

One of the amazing things about God is that when He created human beings – when he created us – he gave us the power of choice. We are not robots. That’s why Genesis 3, the story of Adam and Eve, and their decision to disobey God is such a shocking story.

Why would God create people with the choice to reject Him?

I guess the simple answer, is that He wants love to be genuine. If we are to put Him first, to pursue Him and do His will, it must be because we have chosen that from a heart of love and gratitude.

The choice laid before us in these two verses is the broad way or the narrow way. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

Narrow can feel like a negative word, can’t it? It has negative connotations. We talk about some people being narrow-minded or having a narrow point of view.

And so, many have concluded that Christianity is therefore a religion of restrictions. You can’t do this; you can’t do that. No smoking, no gambling, no drinking; no movies, no having fun of any kind!

And this verse, they say, proves it!!

I am so glad that these words come at the end of the Sermon on the Mount and not the beginning. Earlier in the sermon, in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus said to his audience, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Later He talked about doing things “in secret” where only the Father sees but where the Father loves to reward them. And then Jesus encouraged His listeners to pray to the Father directly asking Him for all of their needs and be participants in His growing Kingdom (as they pray “your kingdom come”). Jesus has been wonderfully drawing them (and us as we read it today) into a love relationship with the Father.

This is not a religion of restrictions, but a Kingdom of love and purpose and blessing. We are not being forced to sit in a prison of misery; we are being invited by the creator of the universe to join Him in His work of healing and salvation around the world.

The road that leads to destruction is broad because there are an infinite number of ways to reject God and put ourselves first. The road to life is narrow because there is simply one path: a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. Yet that one path leads to infinite possibilities of what life with Him can look like.

Sadly, many do not see it. Many just want to do what they want to do with their life.