What Does Strait And Narrow Really Mean? (Part Two)
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (KJV).
As we recall, “strait” means narrow with the idea of having limited space, due to cramped quarters or conditions, and requires a squeezing through because of obstacles standing close about. It holds the idea that because the gate is narrow, only one or two can enter through at a time. “Narrow” means to press together, compress, squeeze, or afflict. It has to do with pressure from circumstances or persecution from others. As also stated before, it requires God’s grace, which is the ability to do the things of God on His terms, to press through the gate and walk the narrow road. The encouraging thing is that God already gave us what we need to accomplish what is impossible for us to do in our own strength.
Psalms 18:30-36 As for God, His way is perfect: the Word of the Lord is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him. For Who is God save the Lord? or Who is a Rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip (KJV). It is important to realize that God’s ways are perfect and He loves us perfectly. Notice that in this passage of Scripture, God does everything that relates to the strait and narrow. He gives strength to those who wait on Him. He raised us up and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 2:6). Since He is the One who makes our way perfect, it is not up to us to perfect our way. He teaches us to war in the Spirit, which essentially means walking in the Spirit, whereby we overcome evil with good (see Romans 12:9-21). He gave us the Armor of God (see Ephesians 6:12-18) in which He wars through us. As we humble ourselves before Him, He lifts us up (see James 4:6-10) and the devil flees before us. As we follow Him, He holds us up and enlarges our steps so that we can walk steadfastly. We do not have to worry about falling, if we do things His way. In a nutshell: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:2-11, KJV). Now that emphasis was placed on God’s part, what is our part?
To begin with, we must remember what Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (KJV). In John 10:7-9 He also said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the Door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (KJV). Clearly, we see that there is only one way to eternal life and that is though Jesus. Without knowing Jesus, we could never know the Father. That means we have to follow Him because He is the Way. What does it mean to follow Jesus? Again, lets begin with what Jesus says: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul” (Matthew 16:24-26, KJV)? This is where the strait and narrow comes into play. Following Jesus is more than just reciting a prayer of repentance at an altar. That is only the beginning. To assume we can merely pray a prayer, then go about our business as before is a huge misunderstanding of what grace is all about. We find this to be true when we read Hebrews 12:28-29, “Wherefore we receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire” (KJV). Before defining what it means to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus, we need to establish that is what Jesus did at the Cross, and not our works that gains us access to the Kingdom of God. Do know, however, it requires endurance! James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (KJV).