"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. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14, NRSV). When I was a boy, my dad and I hiked the Crag Crest Trail on Grand Mesa at least once every year. My favorite part of the trail was what we called the "knife edge," the ridge that runs across the top of Grand Mesa at over 11,000 feet in elevation. Once on the ridge, we could see beautiful views in every direction, from the Book Cliffs near Grand Junction to the West Elk Mountains in the east to the San Juan mountains in the south. But the trail to stay on the ridge was narrow, with steep drop-offs on either side. A sense of exhilaration comes with the awareness that stepping too far to either side could leave one falling off the ridge. The views around may be beautiful, but sticking to the narrow path was what kept us from harm.
That narrow ridge is the image that comes to my mind now when I read Jesus' words that "the way is narrow that leads to eternal life" (v. 14, NASB). Followers of Jesus are called not only to enter through the narrow gate - an image that suggests a one-time commitment to follow him - but to remain on the narrow and difficult path of following Christ throughout our lives. At times that trail narrows to become a knife edge. Though astounding sights around us capture our attention, a step off the path quickly leads to danger. We stay on the narrow trail in those times by keeping our eyes focused on Jesus, following his guidance and walking in his steps. May the Lord grant us such unswerving focus on him and his ways, today and always.
Grace and Peace,