Read: Matthew 7:13-14
Reflect: Decisions, decisions, decisions. It seems like every day I must decide about something. But you know, it wasn’t always like that. Back when I was in grade school my decisions were made for me: “Do I want to go to school today?” Already decided. I then get home from school, and I think: “Do I want to play or do my homework?” Already decided. Later on, “Do I want to stay up till midnight or go to bed at 9”? Already decided! Most of my major decisions were made for me, whether I liked them or not.
And then gradually things changed, and I began making my own decisions such as, “Will I get a part time job after school? Will I join the FTA? Will I take someone to the Prom?” (Of course, that meant someone else had to make a decision). And then the big one, “Will I take trigonometry or take another study hall?” (That one was easy). As I was getting older, the decisions became more important and they carried with them a greater impact on my life. There was then that one decision that I made, which made the greatest impact on my life for the next 50 years.
Decisions have consequences. That is the message Jesus was preaching in His Kingdom sermon in Matthew 7. In this passage Jesus is imploring them to make a decision about their future, regarding two choices: they can enter into the Kingdom of God through the narrow gate, or they can go through the wide gate. Now, I think you understand we’re not talking about the Magic Kingdom with Mickey and all his friends. No, we’re talking about real life, with those real-life consequences. Jesus urges everyone to choose the narrow gate and emphasizes that you can only enter it alone.
I remember the last time I rode the subway, before we could go onto the platform, we had to go through the turnstile, thus guaranteeing that everyone paid his own fare. The narrow gate represents Jesus Christ, and to enter the Kingdom of God, you must go through Jesus. Jesus made it clear in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the only turnstile and He has paid the price. You can have a whole Bible Study group that studies together and shares with one another, but one thing is for sure, each individual must make the choice if they are going to go through the narrow gate on his own, without anyone pushing him or shoving him. The same as you and I must decide on our own, “Will it be the narrow gate or will it be the wide gate?”
The wide gate is very attractive to many people. If you choose the wide gate, that means you can still be the same person you’ve always been: self-centered, self-reliant, self-absorbed, and self-demanding. Any words that begin with the prefix self, more or less sum it up. If you are looking for salvation and it doesn’t put Jesus at the center of your life, then it isn’t really salvation. John MacArthur said in his “Commentary on Matthew”, “Salvation is the exchange of all that we are for all that He is.” (p. 454) By entering the wide gate, we don’t exchange anything, instead we lose the very life God has made for us, because Jesus said in the end there will be destruction.
Apply: I had mentioned earlier about the greatest decision which I had made. When I was 16 years old, I reached a point where I had to decide which road I would choose, the wide road, which obviously was very popular with most people, or the narrow road which seemed to attract fewer people. I chose Jesus and the narrow road (not realizing at the time that He had already chosen me). The results have lasted a lifetime. Knowing that He has been with me these past 50 some years has made all the difference in the world. And even though I have disappointed Him many times in our relationship, He still cares for me, He still loves me, and most importantly, He still knows me. Hallelujah!