Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
Lord, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
“And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.” Isaiah 35:8
I think Jesus is often misunderstood. The narrow path that He speaks of is not a life devoid of pleasure or peace. Jesus gives the greatest pleasure of all, the joy that fills the soul with a sense of purpose and fulfillment…not fleeting sensations that you don’t remember the morning after…but true memories where we see that we are developing into our “true selves”.
I have read many books written by saints and I think they may also be at risk of being horribly misunderstood, because sometimes it sounds like they preach “suffering”. God did not create us to desire suffering. Even Jesus, true God and true Man, did not want to suffer the pain of crucifixion. This is why He asked His father to let the cup of suffering pass, yet He willingly embraced His divine purpose that would involve great pain. “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matthew 26:42
Perhaps many of the saints were called to carry very difficult crosses and they understood that fruit would be borne out of their suffering and so they too willingly drank from the cup of suffering. BUT let’s be careful to not misunderstand: It is not suffering that we should be striving for. WE ARE NOT CALLED TO SUFFER WE ARE CALLED TO DO GOD’S WILL, and doing God’s will may involve some suffering and it is the only way to find TRUE LASTING JOY…PLEASURE THAT ENDURES…
God tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23
We can have all of these things in great abundance on the narrow path where we honor God’s commandments. In fact the mystery of life is that the greatest joy is only possible if we are faithful and obedient to God. Yet sometimes we can misunderstand and think that the narrow path is committing to a life of toil and hardship and pain and suffering…NO! Yet it is also a misunderstanding to think that life on the narrow path will be all joy…for that’s unlikely too. We all have a cross to bear and some suffering to endure, but God will help us to carry that cross and give us strength and comfort and joy along the way as we fulfill our potential and rise up to be the people He wants us to be.
Life on the narrow path is a life with Jesus; it’s a life where He nurtures us, nourishes us, teaches us, comforts us, fulfills us and helps us to endure the challenges we will face. It’s a safe journey, because we hold God’s hand and where God is there is no fear. It’s the only path that leads to joy that will endure eternally! May the Almighty God, our Savior Jesus, fill you with the fruits of His Holy Spirit…love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Smile Jesus loves you!