It's one of those things that Jesus says that makes you scratch your head. Not because it's confusing or complicated. It's very simple.
It's just not something anyone likes to hear.
"For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (Matthew 7:14).
Narrow gates. Hard ways. Few find it. But life...
My wife and will be married 7 years this coming June.
Not very long, but long enough to sin against one another.
One of the things you learn quickly that you have to do if you want any chance of a joyful and healthy marriage is to communicate. Communicating can be fairly easy when things are simple, life is void of bumps and you feel like everything is going your way. I thank God for those sweet moments in our marriage and life - they are real! But if you have been married for any length of time you know that those sweet times are not the only times you experience. When you put two sinners under the same roof you are bound to get, well, some junk thrown in, and usually all around.
When that happens, communicating doesn't stay easy, it becomes hard.
Confession. Humility. Honesty. Transparency. Forgiveness.
Those go from "cute christian" terms to hard realities really quick when you have to put them on for size yourself.
We've had our share of hard conversations these last 7 years.
There was nothing easy about them.
But do you want to know something...
I don't get much hope from easy things anymore.
Did you catch what Jesus is saying?
He is saying that HARD things can be GOOD things.
In fact, most of the things we do in following Jesus are HARD.
Yes, but hard does not mean bad in God's Kingdom.
In Jesus' economy, hard leads to life, it leads to Him!
Those hard conversations my wife and I have had have always lead to more joy, more unity, more love, more life! What they cost us was nothing compared to what they returned to us!
Take courage Christian, have hope and be filled with peace - if you are doing hard things in the path of loving those around you and following Jesus, it is leading to good things, to life, to Him! Don't settle for the easy path in anything; not in your marriage, your singleness, your schooling, your pastoring, your job, your parenting, etc. - it may be rewarding at first but it is fleeting in the end.
You can choose and travel the hard path, not because you have all the strength, but because Jesus has traveled it already and is with you until the end, until your fumbling footsteps on that narrow path lead right up to His glorious and grace-filled face!