“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.” Jesus Christ
Across the world of christendom lies a sea of teaching. Preachers, teachers and missionaries have reached some of the most remote parts of the world with a message. Often, that message is far from the picture of salvation and redemption painted by our Master, Jesus.
I have been blessed to be able to go into places such as Bhutan, a small Buddhist kingdom hidden on the Chinese border. God has allow me to teach in remote places across India, Nepal and Myanmar where I have met some of the most dedicated servants of Christ. Yet throughout many of those places, there are large groups of Christians who have yet to hear the most important element of discipleship; surrender.
The idea of surrender is not popular. We don’t like the idea of capitulating. After all, we are a world (and nation) that loves victory. Nobody likes the idea of “losing” or giving in to someone or something. However, if one was to sum up the message of the scriptures, it would come down to the surrendering to Jesus. Yes, we sing about surrender in our hymns and worship productions. Singing about it is one thing…doing it is completely different.
When Jesus talked of the small gate and narrow way that leads to life, he was describing surrender: The act of denial of the self. I used to believe he was describing moral integrity and the importance of “right living.” While this is true to some degree, his words have a much deeper intonation. Being good doesn’t get it. Only a surrendered life is the one that finds true life. Of course, the surrendered life produced fruit of righteousness. However, I can produce some righteous fruit without ever surrendering. Christ is asking what seems to be the impossible; the total giving of oneself up to someone else.
Jesus is saying the only way we can obtain the true life is to give him our all of our desires both good and bad, all of our thinking, all of our mind, all of our bodies to the ultimate Being, Jesus.
The late missionary E. Stanley Jones calls this a “Victory through Surrender.” We are victorious when we are defeated. It’s a paradox: We gain life when we lose it. Many Christians have yet to learn the basic yet fundamental teaching of surrendering. They go through life looking for happiness in church, with friends or any other seemly spiritual endeavor. The true answer is the surrendering of our complete self to Christ.
As disciples, I encourage you to surrender. As ministers, lets teach complete surrender. Once we surrender all of those elements to the Master, we begin the journey on a narrow road and small gate that delivers a true promise and joy.