The Difficult and Narrow Highway of Life

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The Difficult and Narrow Highway of Life

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Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14 Matthew 7:13-14 [13] Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: [14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.
American King James Version×
).

There is much food for thought in that brief statement!

The King James Version translates this as the “strait” gate. Strait is a Middle English word meaning narrow and difficult. Many people confuse this word with “straight,” but straight would imply easy. The godly path of life is often not straight. It has many surprising and challenging twists and turns.

But what is meant by the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3 Isaiah 40:3The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
American King James Version×
, which says, “Make straight in the desert a highway for our God”? The verse also says, “Prepare the way of the LORD.” This pictures people expecting a visit from a great ruler, so they do everything possible to prepare the road for his arrival. “Prepare” means to clear away the obstacles (Isaiah 57:14 Isaiah 57:14And shall say, Cast you up, cast you up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people.
American King James Version×
; 62:10).

That prophecy was fulfilled by John the Baptist clearing the way for Christ’s first coming (Luke 3:2-4 Luke 3:2-4 [2] Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. [3] And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; [4] As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
American King James Version×
). Today, God’s Church is fulfilling that prophecy by preparing the way for Christ’s second coming.

Back to the subject of the difficult “way” (or highway) that leads to “life.” Twists and turns in a highway make it more difficult for a driver to stay on the highway and not veer or slide off. He must constantly keep his eye on the road and concentrate on steering, braking and accelerating.

As we travel life’s highway, many veer off into the ditch on the right or the ditch on the left. Remember, for every mile of road we travel there are two miles of ditch (one on each side).

Think of the ditches as representing sin. A major definition of sin is the breaking of any law of God (1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
American King James Version×
).

Keep in mind this scripture: “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2 Deuteronomy 4:2You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
American King James Version×
). So, one ditch can represent forgetting or neglecting a law of God—taking away. The other ditch can represent putting our own ideas, habits and traditions ahead of God’s law—adding to.

One Way

Life is quite confusing. Many churches that claim to be Christian regularly add to God’s law and take away from God’s law. And many of those same churches claim that there are many highways to heaven and that it doesn’t matter which highway you take as long as you are trying to head toward God.

There is only one way to eternal life in God’s Kingdom. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
American King James Version×
).

How vulnerable are we to being misled by unbiblical claims? Some may be appealing because they would permit us to give in to our weaknesses and temptations. Do we hate sin as we should or are we tolerant of sin?

Traveling the highway of life is dangerous! Being surrounded by so many false “Christian” beliefs is like having many, many side roads. Will we stay on the main highways—God’s highway—or will we make some wrong turns?

The politically correct gospel is that we must be tolerant—including tolerant of all lifestyles and religious beliefs. But what they really mean is that we must condone all lifestyles and beliefs as all being equal. When they say that no one has the right to pass judgment on anyone else, they mean that we should not say there is absolute right and wrong.

We are to know what right and wrong is from God’s Word—how to understand the holy and profane from God’s viewpoint. That is the only path that pleases God.

The excuse is made that they are all nice, good guys, meaning no harm. But so what? That doesn’t mean they are on God’s highway. And look around; see for yourself where differing religions, countries, societies and people are today. The fruits are not good. And Jesus said that we should know people by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20 Matthew 7:15-20 [15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. [16] You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [17] Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. [19] Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [20] Why by their fruits you shall know them.
American King James Version×
).

But another temptation we face is being too hard on our neighbors, calling them down, not respecting them because of how they live, acting smug, avoiding being friendly toward them. Both ditches are distracting and destructive; we must not judge and condemn others or try to force obedience to God. We can, however, set a good example by being “good drivers” and making sure our vehicle stays on the road.

Stay Alert

We also tend to get sidetracked by the tugs and pulls of our own human nature, which draws us in various directions. Because we all have free moral agency, we can easily abuse that freedom to do our own thing. Be very aware of this: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×
).

Our human nature tends to pull us off one side of the highway or the other. Life is full of distractions that would cause us to end up in one ditch or another. This is what Jesus meant when He spoke of the seed sown among thorns and weeds (Matthew 13:22 Matthew 13:22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
American King James Version×
).

In traveling a highway, drivers need to be on guard against sleepiness, distractions within the car like the radio or passengers, bad road conditions like ice, things lying on the road or broken pavement, other traffic using the same road, and possible mechanical problems. Any of these could put us into one ditch or the other. Likewise, there are many spiritual perils in traveling the highway of life that we must be on guard against.

Human nature also has a seemingly built-in resistance to anyone telling us what to do. Our raw human nature is described in Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×
;“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” We must overcome that rebelliousness by the power of God’s Holy Spirit (verses 8 and 14).

How can one obtain God’s Holy Spirit? It is summarized in the sermon Peter gave at Pentecost in Jerusalem, recorded in Acts 2. In Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
, we read that Peter encouraged those who were stricken in conscience to “repent, and be baptized.”

Peter knew that God’s law defines sin and that Jesus’ shed blood erases the penalty for those who repent and are baptized. Then, after our sins have been forgiven, we still must struggle for the rest of our lives to overcome the wrong habits and tendencies to sin.

It is the blood of Christ that frees us from the penalty, but it is adherence to the law of God that reflects the appreciation and love we have for the precious gift of His blood and the offer of eternal life. We must “walk [or drive] in newness of life” (Romans 6:4 Romans 6:4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus Christ is our driving instructor, and He has promised to always be with us. Always listen to Him, do what He says, keep your eye on the road, and keep your life on God’s true highway of life.

Further reading

Request or download our free booklet Making Life Work.

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