Scripture: Matthew 7:13-21
Key verse: (13) “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it.”
Reflection: Every day brings new decisions. We have a choice about how we are going to be in the world. For Christians, the life of faith is a journey that begins and ends by following Jesus. Today’s passage is found at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. The Church over the centuries has struggled with these chapters in the Gospel of Matthew for a variety of reasons. First, how can anyone live up to the standards outlined? Second, does the sermon apply to all people or just some people? Third, how should Jesus’ teachings be applied to everyday life? Following the ethical teachings Jesus outlined in the entire sermon is definitely not easy. Together they create a narrow road. Hard to follow, yet not impossible.
My father used to love to quote this verse to me during my teen years. I wasn’t a particularly wayward child, but it was very clear to me that this was meant to be a warning. Over time, I learned that the road is wide and easy that leads to destruction. If we follow all of our ideas and passions, wherever they take us, without thinking our decisions through we will find trouble. It’s easy to do whatever we want without thinking about anyone but ourselves. It’s easy to fall into a crowd that does whatever they want without regard for themselves or others. But, this kind of behavior eventually has consequences. To live differently takes courage and strength. To make wise decisions, ethical decisions that reflect what we believe, takes maturity and wisdom. It also takes devotion to God cultivated by a life of service and prayer. We need God’s help to enter through the narrow gate. There are too many temptations in life for us to find or follow this road alone. Jesus offers us an invitation to take the road that leads to life. We hope and pray that he will guide us so that we can find and follow this road.
Prayer: Gracious God, we give thanks for Jesus and how you use him to show us the way to true life. Help us to lean on you as we travel through our days. Give us wisdom to recognize what is true and what is false. Give us strength to overcome the many temptations of the world that distract us from loving you and loving others. Mold us and shape us into the followers of Jesus you hope we will become. In his holy name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].