“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
– Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)
Football is a demanding game! The average fan falls in love with the game day environment without fully understanding the sacrifice and effort that those who play the game make. The day begins early with weight workouts and practices on the heavy morning dew. As the athlete showers and dresses, a full day of academic classes, film study and more practice are on the horizon. Football players understand the old Army slogan, “We get more done by 9 am than most people do all day.” A two-hour practice can leave the most focused and conditioned athlete mentally and physically exhausted. The game day competition will test a player’s will and perseverance. Not everyone is willing to put in the time and effort it takes to play the game. Many like the idea of putting on the jersey and hearing the cheering fans but fail to understand the commitment it takes to actually do it. Those who choose to play the game of football choose to walk through the narrow gate.
Jesus talks about the narrow gate in His well-known Sermon on the Mount. “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate”, Jesus says. What He is telling us is that the way that leads to eternal life is hard and difficult. Sure, there are many blessings along the way, but there are plenty of hardships too. Too often, new believers think that living the Christian life is going to be easy and that God will automatically solve all their problems. If that were true, the gate to heaven would be wide. Choosing to follow Jesus will bring ups and downs as well as challenges and sacrifices. Walking through the narrow gate can be lonely because we must learn to give up our own way and follow the way Jesus modeled. The choice is ultimately ours to make, but there is comfort in knowing that He walks with us.
Heavenly Father, You alone are the way to eternal life. Help me today as I walk through the narrow gate. May I feel Your presence and Your strength. Amen.