by: Gary L. Hutchens
The way we live our lives is often referred to by various terms that indicate a particular direction taken. We’ll speak of the course of a person’s life, or what path he’s taking in his life, or what road he’s traveling through life. Our Lord Himself used this very frame of reference: “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).
He spoke of two gates- one “narrow” and one “wide”- through which a person’s life’s walk will ultimately lead him. He also stated that there are two ways down which people choose to live their lives as they journey toward one of those gates. One way- variously translated as being “difficult” (NKJV), “hard” (RSV), “strait” (ASV) and “narrow” (KJV)- leads to the “narrow” gate. The other way- described as “broad”- leads to the “wide” gate.
It should be noted that there are only two ways and two gates. The understanding conveyed in the text is that everybody will choose one of those ways as the direction his life will take, and the ultimate destination of his life will be through one of those gates. The gate through which a person will ultimately pass at the end of his life is fixed by his own choice of which way he takes in life. The narrow way leads to the narrow gate through which is eternal life- Heaven! The broad way leads to the wide gate beyond which is eternal destruction- Hell!
If Heaven is at the end of the narrow way, on the other side of the narrow gate, why would anyone choose any other way to travel through life? Perhaps because of what is conveyed in some of those other translations. Some people see it as a way that is “difficult,” and “hard.” But, really, the meaning of the text does not imply that traveling the narrow way through life is arduous or grueling. It is simply the way of truth, and living by truth requires consistent commitment.
Going down the broad way, on the other hand, requires no commitment at all. It is truly the path of least resistance. The way of truth is straight, narrow, direct, perhaps more a path than a road. On the broad way there are no restrictions, anything goes. It’s not just a road, it’s a superhighway. A great many people like having no hard and fast rules, being able to do anything they want at any time. They take pleasure in the idea of not having to exercise any more self discipline than strikes their fancy at any given moment.
But a careless, frivolous lifestyle, from a general perspective, is self-destructive. There are standards in life that have to be met, rules that have to be followed in order for one’s life to be productive and fulfilling. That principle is all the more true on the spiritual side of life. The narrow way, the pathway of truth, leads to all of the blessings and joys and enrichment of eternity in Heaven. The broad way leads to absolute, total, everlasting destruction. The broad way is truly a Highway To Hell!
Gary L. Hutchens