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.Matthew 7:13-14
There are two drastically different gates that the child of God can choose when he picks the path for his life. One is strait, the other is wide. We do not use the term strait much anymore but the verse itself gives us an idea of what it means.
Jesus says the opposite of strait is wide.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines strait this way:
Tight narrow; Affording little room, narrow; precise, exact
The wide gate has great space. The strait gate has very limited space.
Therefore, the child of God has a choice between a wide gate and a narrow gate. Each of these gates opens to a type of path that we will discuss later. For now, let’s take a look at what Jesus means by these figurative gates.
First of all, the wide gate is one that many choose to enter the path for their life. This gate allows various ways of thinking including men’s philosophies and opinions. It gives little or no regard to the word of God for instruction in righteousness. Or, it puts man’s opinion on the same level with the word of God. The wide gate gives you the idea that you are following the Lord because you chose a path. However, this gate is not the sheep gate because it is not the gate that Jesus declares Himself to be. Jesus did not walk according to His personal pleasure. He walked in service to His Father. The wide gate looks nothing like Jesus.
The strait gate that is chosen by just a few does not allow space for our personal opinion or any philosophy of man. The opening to this path is clearly and strictly defined by the word of God. What the Bible says is right is right. What the Bible calls a sin is a sin. This type of gate calls for us to repent of the sins of the world. Any teaching that says you can come to Jesus as you are and keep living that way is not the strait gate. Our personal will or desires should not matter because Jesus sought only to do the will of His Father.
Our fallen nature may look at these two paths and say that the strait gate is too restrictive. Some even say, “I don’t want to follow Jesus that way. I want to follow Him in my ‘own way.'” Well, according to Jesus, we can’t do it that way. Further, to choose a gate that is not opening to the path that Jesus is on will be quite lonely and hurtful. Why? Because the wide gate opens up to the path the ungodly like to follow. And consider what God says about that path:
For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.Psalm 1:6
God “knows” the way of the righteous because that is where He is and grants deep fellowship with Him. We cannot separate ourselves eternally from the love of God. But we can choose to enter through the wide gate onto a path that leads to destruction for God is not there.
Jesus has called you into life us by His marvelous and irresistible grace. How will you choose to live that life? Will you choose the popular way and forsake the instruction of God by entering the wide gate. Or, will you with joy, thankfully enter through the strait gate and submit to the loving will of God for your life here in His kingdom?