Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. Matthew 7:13-14 AMPC
Some of you may have heard the passage in Matthew 7. Recently, I read this again and the last three words will not leave my mind; “Few find it”. Those are easy words to read past and for many of us, we assume that we are the “few” who really understand and have it all figured out. Compared to the rest of the people we know or hear about, we seem to be in pretty good shape, so we assume we must be the object of what is meant by “few”.
As I really considered this, I started thinking backwards about my faith. Does my life show evidence of a person transformed by Jesus Christ? What is a life transformed by Jesus Christ supposed to look like? Where do we get the model for how it should look like? The “where” question has always been clear to me; if it isn’t in the Bible, it is not something I am willing to stake my eternity on. People can form ideas, but it doesn’t make them true, no matter how logical they may sound.
The Bible has always been my guide
Diving deeper into this line of questioning, I considered that I might be misled by the bible translations that I have been using. I did some research and found that some translations are literal and some are paraphrased and translated thought for thought. I knew this much from reading a few lines of “The Message” translation, which is obviously not a literal word for word translation. As I went deeper into my research, I found some people adamantly against some translations and others giving full support of the same translations. My head was spinning as I wondered which one is correct and how should that be defined.
My next thought was to do research on the people endorsing some translations over others to see where their beliefs aligned. I had a suspicion that some people gravitate toward translations that support their ideas.
After I got lost in a few hours of research, I realized how easily I had walked into a trap. I had quickly gone from trusting in God’s Word for guidance to listening to man’s opinions about God’s Word. This is a dangerous trap because if the translations I use become suspect, then the faith I have becomes suspect. Damaging one of the foundations of faith is a tactic of the enemy. Doubt is the opposite of faith and creating doubt in something so fundamental in my faith could have been effective if I didn’t stop and seek God for help.
In case you are wondering the outcome of my questioning, the answer was simple and found just a few verses earlier in Matthew 7:7 “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.”
I will trust that God will lead me to the narrow gate if I continue to seek truth and approach Him with reverence and trust. I use multiple translations when I see a section that I want to understand deeper. Above all, I need to continue to empty myself of any pride I have or my personal ideas about how it should work and be open to let God show me what the Bible says and believe it. He gave those that have entered a life of faith the Holy Spirit to help with such things.
What road are you on today? The large open road of just living life and doing the best that you can to get by leads to destruction. The narrow gate is difficult to go through and difficult to find. It can be found if you look for it and continue to look for it with a humble heart. Even with the map that is provided, there are few that choose to enter. Matthew 13 gives a good indication as to why that is and how people miss it. Even more miss it because they want someone to explain the Bible to them rather than read it themselves. There are many teachers spreading popular messages, but Jesus says the road is difficult. Get a Bible, or download a Bible app and find the narrow gate. Jesus is the Way the Truth, and the Life - it is all in there, you just need to find it.