I stand facing two paths.
The wide path to my left winds along and extends way up a steep rocky cliff. I can see only the heights of the perilous mountain ahead covered with dark clouds and enduring random bolts of lightning. Legend has it that anyone who dares to reach the top of the mountain will be like God. Untold individuals have prided themselves on their strength and ability to brave its heights.
The narrow path to my right is barred by a constricted opening. Word has it that anyone who passes through endures many dangers, toils and snares, but receives every perfect gift of heaven. Many try to pass through, but few succeed. The majestic rays of light beaming through the crack are inviting.
Which road shall I take?
I am drawn to the narrow path. Required it is that one squeeze through the opening all alone. Sure looks tight and uncomfortable. Oh, how I wish someone could just pull me through all at once!
With a deep breath, I brace myself. First I carefully force my right arm through the opening, then my right leg. Oh, the pressure is intense! Yet, the glorious beam piercing out from the slit pulls my heart like a magnet and I proceed.
With an arm and a leg through already, my chest is next. Bravely, I make every effort to press in. The compression intensifies such that I cannot catch my breath and momentarily regret my choice of paths while there is still time to back out. But I relent, having come this far. Still barely able to breath, I force my chest rib by rib the rest of the way through, and finally gasp for breath.
With my chest through the opening, there’s no turning back. Constricted in limbo, I am all a tangle with my head, left arm and leg next to pull through. Feeling squeezed like a citrus, my head endures tremendous strain as I pull and wiggle it through. With my left arm and leg following through the opening, I finally yank them in line and catch my balance in the new surroundings.
Slowly, my eyes adjust to the marvelous light and I slowly catch my breath. I relish in the heavenly view. This wondrous light permeates everything as concentrated sparkly swirls extend in a trail ahead of me inviting me to follow along. So irresistible, it throws smaller warm swirls into my heart and fills my soul with joy and comfort. In the multitude of brilliant colors I have never before seen, I embrace all around me this exquisite beauty.
But wait. From inside the path of light now I can see clearly out into the distance the final destination of the other path. God have mercy; the legend is a lie. At the base of the mountain, mounds of scattered bones cry out for each and every climber who dared to ascend.
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
Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”
So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.