“If you keep My commands, you will stay in My love – just as I have kept My Father’s commands and stay in His love. I have said this to you so that My joy may be in you, and your joy be complete.” (Yochanan 15:10-11)
In my last post we continued to dig into the actual commands of Yeshua. We looked at the second part by how we are to approach God through loving God & our neighbor and receiving the Ruach HaKodesh. In this post, we will look at going through the narrow gate.
Approaching God ~ C
“Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14; see also Luke 13:24)
Go through the Narrow Gate
This is one command that seems to be more restrictive and challenging than what we have looked at previously. It begins to hit at our rebellious nature, our propensity to seek our own will over the will of Yeshua. But even in this command we have a choice to be made. There are two paths before each us, one narrow and the other broad. One leads to life, the other to destruction. Most people choose the broad path that seems more appealing at least initially. Few make the right choice of the narrow path that initially looks lonely, restrictive, and difficult. Yet in the end it leads to what everyone was looking for in the first place.
There are no alternative routes to God, no back entrances into heaven. There are only two choices: the narrow gate that leads to life and the broad gate that leads to destruction and torment. Both have a beginning point, and both have a destination to which they lead.
Yeshua knows how narrow the gate is. There was no wiggle room for Him when it came to following the Father’s will for His life. When He said, “It is finished” (Yochanan 19:30), He knew in His heart He had stayed on that narrow pathway and that He had completed absolutely everything His Father had foreordained for Him to accomplish.
Yeshua did not do anything apart from the empowering guidance of His Father. Neither did He say anything apart from what the Father gave Him to say. His life was given in order to bring glory to His Father. He did not seek to do His own will but the will of His Father. Essentially, at no time did Yeshua ever work independently from His Father. He joined in what He saw His Father doing, said what His Father gave Him to say, and completed all the assignments His Father gave Him to accomplish.
All of what Yeshua did was an example of the type of relationship we need to have with our Heavenly Father. The road Yeshua walked on the earth was indeed narrow; it led directly to an execution stake. So too, when our days are ended on the earth, we have the promised reward for our love and obedience waiting in glory. Yeshua alone, through His Ruach, will guide each and every follower to know the narrow road that leads to life. This is why making our personal relationship with Yeshua a high priority is so incredibly important. Without that growing, vibrant, personal relationship with the Ruach of God and Yeshua, we are in serious jeopardy of getting off track as we walk through life.
Yochanan tells us, “Everyone who goes ahead and does not remain true to what the Messiah has taught does not have God. Those who remain true to his teaching have both the Father and the Son.” (2 Yochanan 9) Those who truly know the voice of the Good Shepherd will follow Him.
The only way believers are able to enter the narrow gate is to seek and search for the Lord Yeshua. The call to “follow Me” continues to this day. We are to follow no man, no religious leader, no author, no mentor or hero in the faith through that narrow gate; only Yeshua truly knows the way because only Yeshua truly knows our hearts. “Yeshua said, “I AM the Way – and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” (Yochanan 14:6)
Throughout His ministry Yeshua explained how to have eternal life and how He had been given the authority to give eternal life to whomever He chooses.
- “My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands.” (Yochanan 10:27-28)
- “I am the living bread that has come down from heaven; if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. Furthermore, the bread that I will give is my own flesh; and I will give it for the life of the world.” (Yochanan 6:51)
- “Whoever trusts in the Son has eternal life. But whoever disobeys the Son will not see that life but remains subject to God’s wrath.” (Yochanan 3:36)
In truth, when Yeshua pointed out the existence of a narrow gate, He was in effect pointing to Himself. “I am the gate; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture.” (Yochanan 10:9). This is why He is such an authority on the narrow gate and why He alone determines who can enter according to His standards.
Understanding how all the metaphors used of Yeshua fit together is sometimes difficult, and in some sense it is probably best not to try to fit them all together. Each of the metaphors Yeshua uses of Himself reveals various aspects of His nature, purpose, and activity (I am the bread of life, gate (or door), Good Shepherd, light of the world, etc.). But when this command tells us to “go in through the narrow gate” it really is telling us to seek and search out Yeshua Himself. There is no secret passage only the most devout may discover, no special password hidden in ancient manuscripts, no clever icons or symbols found etched in centuries-old monuments; there is only Yeshua. Yochanan records it best, “Eternal life is this: to know You, the one true God, and Him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah.” (Yochanan 17:3)
Can you truly say you are seeking the Lord with all your heart? Are you really on the narrow pathway? Have you been substituting religious activity for your love of God? Has there been a time when the Ruach of God has been directing you and you have refused to follow His leading? You may want to stop and consider repenting before your Lord, asking Him to forgive you and restore you onto the paths of righteousness.
In my next post, we will continue to examine additional commands of Yeshua in approaching God.