The Walk of Wisdom Part 2- The Way is Narrow
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” In this succinct opening statement of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina, Tolstoy captures the concept that happy families follow a common, narrow way of living to remain happy, but the ways to unhappiness are diverse. This principle that Tolstoy then illustrated throughout his classic is very similar to what Jesus taught about the way of living in God’s wisdom and finding eternal life.
Recorded by Matthew in chapters 5,6, and 7 of his Gospel, Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount to a Large multitude of people. In chapter 5, He explained the characteristics of genuine Godly people who are “blessed,” that these are the salt and light to the world, that Jesus fulfilled the Law so genuine believers could enter the Kingdom of heaven, and that the Godly will even love their enemies. In chapter 6, Jesus described how to please God and to pray to Him privately – and how to serve Him by laying up treasures in heaven while shunning earthly treasures. He focused on trusting God as a loving Father that provides for his followers. But in chapter 7, Jesus explained some contrasts in life:
- We are not to judge others; instead, we should evaluate our own lives (7:1-6)
- We are to seek, ask and ask of the loving Father (7:7-12)
- We are to beware of false teachers and prophets (7:15-21)
In the midst of this chapter, Jesus describes the “way” that the wise will walk, illustrating a road that branches and leads through two gates:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad isthe way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (7:13-14)
In this passage, Jesus instructs His followers to wisely choose the road that leads to eternal life – and He acknowledges that it is “difficult,”” narrow,” and it is only followed by a “few.” These few are walking the way of wisdom. Jesus confirms this in the concluding words of His Sermon on the Mount:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. (7:26-27)
To be wise and walk the narrow path of wisdom through life, we must hear, seek, ask and knock – then build our life on the rock – who is Jesus Christ. Songwriter Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) captured the praise of the wise builder in her lyrics to the Hymn “He Hideth My Soul”:
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, Where rivers of pleasure I see.
David often referred to God as his rock, for example: “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” (Psalm 95:1). So may we, like David, trust God to hide our souls in the cleft of the rock.