|Matthew 7:13-14 |
13 Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction,6 and there are many who go in that way.
14 Because narrow is the gate and compressed is the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it.7 [From the Word of the Lord within: "Few will be saved because of their love of life. You must lose your life to save it; you must hate your life to lose your life." The narrow way is to die daily as you carry your cross, denying your own desires and following (obeying) the Lord's orders to repent that He speaks to you as you wait on Him.]
7 Jesus tells us that few will be saved — few will find the narrow way, we know many will try to enter and be unable. Why is it so hard to find and enter through the narrow way? Largely because of false prophets, which he warns us about in the next verses. These false prophets deny that you must lose your life to find it, that we must suffer like him to reign with him, that we must take up our cross of self-denial daily to follow him — but since Jesus commanded it, we know it is possible. Possible, providing: 1) we have faith that God exists, that he rewards those who diligently seek him, 2) we have the hope of the true gospel, and 3) we know how to seek him and know how to carry our cross. To read the details on how to seek God and carry our cross see: How to Receive the Changing Power of God.
From the Word of the Lord within: "Narrow, indeed, is the way. Strive to enter through the narrow gate. Few will find it. Men have stopped trying. They have plunged themselves into iniquity. Few will be saved because of their love of life. You must lose your life to save it; you must hate your life to lose your life." The narrow way is to die daily as you carry your cross, denying your own desires and following (obeying) the Lord's orders to repent that He speaks to you as you wait on Him.
From George Fox's Journal:
You must have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. 1 Pet 4:12-13
If you will reign with him, you must suffer with him. 2 Tim 2:12
if you will live with him, you must die with him. 2 Tim 2:11 (there must be a "dying daily.")
And if you die with him, you must be buried with him, Rom 6:4
and being buried with him in the true baptism, you also rise with him. Col 2:12, Eph 2:6
Once you have found the true way of the cross, still it is too hard for many to travel; so few will enter the narrow gate. It is not easy to lose your life. It is not easy to persistently and patiently sit in humble silence and wait on God as you listen, watch, and then obey completely. It is not easy to look at your will and what is in your heart as the Lord shows it to you. It is not easy to endure several trials with pain and suffering. As kingdom-dwelling Isaac Penington wrote: "the way is long, the travel hard, the enemies and difficulties many, and that there is need of much faith, hope, patience, repentance, watchfulness against temptations, etc., before the life (superior, eternal life of God) in them arrives."
To understand the reasons why people give up, see the parable of the sower and the word. To be successful, first you have to have been drawn in love; you cannot come to the Lord and suffer through the cross just to avoid Hell. From the Word of the Lord within: "People can't come in fear; they have to come in love;" the Father has to have drawn you with a revelation that instills a hunger in you for more because the love of God and hunger for more-of-Him is the only lasting motivator. Those who have not been drawn by God with a spiritual experience that gives you a taste and hunger for more, you must turn from evil as best you can, distribute liberally to the poor, and pray to God to give you that experience, promising in return that you will seek Him with your best effort. Even after being drawn and given the hunger, many cannot bear the cross to the end because they love their life too much to let it all go. So count the costs before beginning, and be sure you are willing to give all, if and when ordered.