Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (NIV)
My wife and I decided to replace the wallpaper in our kitchen. I was not looking forward to this, but it needed to be done. My wife started to tear down the old wallpaper and found that there was another layer of wallpaper under it. The people who lived in the home before us had simply wallpapered over the old. My wife asked me if we should take down the other wallpaper also. I did not feel like it, but I knew that to do the job correctly we would have to take it all down, right to the bare wall. This added more time to preparing the wall, time I did not feel like taking. It would have been so easy just to wallpaper over the old, but I knew that we would run the chance of the old wallpaper bleeding through the new. So we took the extra time and did the project correctly.
In our lives we can either wallpaper over the old, doing half a job in a hurry and thinking it looks good, but with results which will not stand up to the test of time; or we can take the time and effort to do the wallpapering correctly, with results which bring lasting satisfaction. In this I mean we can try to make ourselves look like a Christian on the outside, or we can remember that it is faith in Jesus which makes a Christian in heart and soul. In today's scripture, we are told that small is the gate and narrow the road which leads to life, while broad is the road that leads to destruction. Here the small gate and narrow road lead through Christ, while the broad road is human self-justification. Thinking that I am saved and that God loves me just because I am a good person in my own eyes is not the way. This is like putting on a new layer of wallpaper without tearing down the old. One must die to self, and start out as a new creation in Christ. It is only through faith in Jesus that one can find salvation. Sometimes this faith in Jesus calls us to make an effort in our life. It calls us to do the will of God, which is not always an easy task.
Prayer: Lord, may our old selves be completely torn down and new lives in Christ start. May we never forget that it is through Jesus that our salvation has come to us. May others see the new life you have given us so that we will glorify you. Amen.