In Matthew 7, we read the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The second half of this chapter revolves around the two philosophies in life - God’s and mankind's. This portion of the chapter can be summed up in verses 13 and 14: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Jesus starts off with the command “Enter through the narrow gate” before talking about the broad path, showing his desire for us. However, as we see throughout the story of the Bible, humans choose their own way, as defined by the broad path. Sin has plagued the world for a long time, and all failed in that process as noted by Romans 3:23. The things made by this world produces is enjoyable. I enjoy listening to 80s rock and watching tv shows like The Office. We all can identify something of the world that we pursue. While these avenues are not always toxic to our values, they are at minimum empty. They do not bring us closer to God as we should be trying to do. If we have repented of our sins and professing faith in Christ, we should not grow stagnant. Jesus carries on in verse 14 talking about the path to righteousness. He illustrates the difficulty of following Him as a narrow gate. Narrow passages are not always comfortable, and many will defer to another option. For the few who find and stay consistent, the journey will not be easy. In John 15, Jesus tells His disciples: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” The original Greek work ‘hate’ in that passage can either mean to detest or to love less. We see that today, as some countries persecute Christianity, while others may be opposed to Christianity. In either case, the world does not agree with our mindset. Jesus charges us to remain faithful though to the path of life.
Now, it would be difficult to completely avoid all forms of the world. As mentioned earlier, not everything of the world is toxic to our character. We should definitely avoid anything we know goes against God’s will, but what about the neutral stuff? Think of a bag of Doritos, or a soda can. While those things taste good, they do not benefit our bodies and health. In moderation, it is alright. Similarly, things of the world may be nice, but we should not let it occupy our whole attention. Jesus closes Matthew 7 with the illustration of the two men who built houses in different locations. The smart one who anchored his residence on the rock still encountered rain fall, but it did not affect him. So too, we are bound to encounter the world, but if we choose to follow the narrow path and anchor our life in Christ, we will not choose the ways of the world.
William Pledger (17) is the Lead Director of CLM/TPS Chapel and is a senior at The Potter's School