Toward the end of his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said,
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Wouldn’t it be great if following Jesus was the easiest thing we could do? Popularity, public approval, material well-being, and an absence of trials and temptations. Isn’t that the life most of us would like to have? It turns out a life like that is more likely to lead to destruction.
We can learn a few things from Christ’s first followers. Neither the Gospels nor the book of Acts, nor the rest of the New Testament gives any evidence that those early believers were getting voted “Most Likely to Succeed” or winning popularity contests of any sort. They didn’t take the easy way out. Why should we expect anything different?
We need to be careful here. Lack of popularity is no guarantee we are faithfully following Jesus either. It might just mean we are doing a lot wrong.
Still, when we try our best to serve God in accordance with his revealed will, we can expect it to bring some difficulty. We can also expect that quite a few others will decide to go another way — through a wide gate and down an easy path. Many will take the easy way out. Look around. Which gate are you heading going through and which path are you following? How does it compare with the way of the cross?