Matthew 7:13-21
But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:14).


Read Psalm 1 and Deuteronomy 30:11-20 to see these “two roads” further described, and then read John 10:9.


What will help you walk on the right road today? In what ways will you follow Jesus, even if it’s unpopular?

One of the most prevalent of modern myths is the idea that boundary-less living leads to freedom. A permissive lifestyle may feel free for a time, but it will soon trap us. In ludicrous manner we shout, “I’m free! I’m free!” as we back into a cage and lock the door.

Jesus’ stark warning about this cuts across our permissive society, just as it cut across His own. In Matthew 7:13-14, He portrays the choice as one between two roads—one narrow, another broad—leading to two destinations (life or death).

The broad road is loud and crowded (Matthew 7:13). It’s the path of self-will and selfish ambition, of loose promises and sexual permissiveness, of hatred, revenge, and doing good for personal gain, of hypocritical religion, and of a materialism that leaves no room for God. This road is popular because it’s easy. We simply let our natural desires lead us.

The narrow road, by contrast, is so small that most of us walk past it. Few are rushing to it. This is the path of following God’s will rather than our own (Matthew 7:21), of firm promises and marital faithfulness (Matthew 5:27-37), of reconciliation, turning cheeks, and anonymous charity (Matthew 5:21-26,38-48, 6:1-4), of true spirituality and choosing God above possessions (Matthew 6:5-34).

The broad road feels so free, but it leads to death and hell (Matthew 7:13). There’s no freedom in either. The narrow road initially looks constricting, but looks are deceiving. We’ve shed our baggage to fit through its gate and walk lighter and with more freedom—into eternal life itself (Matthew 7:14).

Don’t think Jesus is talking only about heaven and hell here. The life and death He speaks of is experienced now, depending on whether we follow Him or not (Matthew 7:24-27). Others may jeer, but those who follow Jesus down His narrow path will live in joyous freedom.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Hebrews 10:19-39

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6 Responses to “narrow road, eternal life”

  1. dossk says:

    Dear Sheridan, Thanks for the post. It is timely. A natural man following the broad road is understandable. But a spiritual man following a broad road is disturbing. The ‘prosperity gospel’ propels one to practice selfish ambition, loose promises, animosity, arrogance and revenge. Many Christian leaders have chosen the broad road,even though their preaching is centered around the narrow road. What a paradox !

    • Thanks Dossk. I don’t know about you but most days I find plenty of temptations to follow the broad road myself. Words like these remind all of us that Jesus calls us to all to a different path – his! And that calling is new everyday.

  2. canamer says:

    It is true that many Christians have it ‘very good’ – especially in the Western world – considering how many Christians in other places around the world have absolutely nothing. Not to mention they’re being persecuted for their faith in many areas around the world even right now.

    Don’t worry. I think we’ll get our chance to prove once and for all someday which ‘road’ we’re on. I’m extremely thankful to have an average life in what I consider to be the best area in the world. But, it’s my prayer that I don’t become too attached to it so that if/when the time comes to give it up, I can say ‘yes’.

    I personally don’t subscribe to the prosperity gospel. I have a job, a roof over my head and a wife and 2 dogs. That’s far more than many have and far more than God ever promised to me. He owes me nothing as he already gave me salvation. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having ‘enough’ or perhaps even being ‘rich’ – I mean are most of us not ‘rich’ compared to the rest of the world? But what the prosperity gospel omits is the FACT that God never promised any of his children a rose garden. So, if the time should come when we are asked to give it all up for him we MUST do so! Why? Because that is exactly what he did already for US!

    • Good words canamer.

      We should keep in mind that Jesus was speaking to humble folks with little by way of goods or prosperity when he spoke about the narrow road (read Matthew 4:23-5:10 to see the kind of people he was addressing – the poor, despised and sick!). His words are therefore more challenging again. He wasn’t really correcting some ‘prosperity gospel’ of material abundance alone as much as a lifestyle of self-centredness – spelt out in the preceding verses of Matthew 5-7.

      A much more demanding picture indeed.

  3. mike wittmer says:

    This is so true, Sheridan. I saw a recent post explaining that the sexual freedom of our culture actually places others in bondage. E.g., the rise of homosexual practice makes it difficult for men to show non-sexual affection to other men. Sin may be touted as freedom, but it will always be another form of bondage.

  4. winn collier says:

    If having a 10 and 9 year old boy teaches you anything, it’s the truth that we all need boundaries. We need to know what’s good for us – and to be told ‘no’ for those things that are bad for us.

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