A cute little four-year old I know thinks that an ice cream cone would be a terrific breakfast. With her mother’s persistent teaching, she will someday learn the components of a well-balanced diet, but right now, she is not able to decide what is best for her.
Not that it is easy for adults. Have you ever gone into a cafeteria and wished you could have one of everything? I have - I love food and I love to eat - But sometimes I eat too much or eat what isn’t good for me. Out come the excuses: “everyone does it,” or “it feels good,” or even get defensive with - “no one (not even the bathroom scales) has the right to tell me what to do.”
Since I do not want to be “broader” that I already am, I try, most of the time, to keep my mind on the goal (slimness) and narrow my selection to food that will not widen my proportions.
First century Palestine didn’t have cafeterias that Jesus could use to illustrate truth, but they did have wide and narrow gates. Since most of their cities were walled, gates were needed, usually one wide one and a wide road leading up to it. This was the easiest way to get in.
The “narrow gate” was more like what we might call a turnstile - only one person could enter at a time. These were used at night or during a siege. They were situated off to the side and away from the main road, therefore more difficult to enter.
Jesus Christ 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” (Matt.7:13,14 NKJV).
Obviously, He wasn’t talking about food - and eternal life is a far more important goal than slimness; but the excuses to stay on the broad way are surprisingly similar:
1. There are many on the broad way to destruction - nearly “everyone does it.” Why go where few others go? Why not follow the crowd?
2. The narrow way is difficult, implying that the broad way is easy - certainly “it feels good” too. Why not avoid something that is hard? What is the point of choosing something that will be difficult?
3. There is a command to “enter...” No one tells anyone to go the broad way, no one has to. Doesn’t it offer more freedom and a sense of independence? Why give someone else have the “right to tell me what to do?”
But then there is the matter of the goal...