Why is the road that leads to life so difficult and few ever find it?
I mean Jesus Himself nonchalantly but honestly declared it when He stated that the gate is narrow and the road difficult that leads to life (Matthew 7:14).
Should it not have been the other way round – the gate wide and the road easy to navigate? One would have thought so allowing many to find and navigate their way on it. Nonetheless, it isn’t.
But why not?
Before delving into the reasons why, it is first and foremost important to take note of this truth for ourselves and come to terms with it – the path of life we are on is not without its fair share of challenges and troubles. Accepting this elementary truth and being constantly aware of it will prevent us from being ambushed and taken by surprise when these hardships and difficulties come our way which they most certainly will.
The fact that we are in Christ by no means exempts us from trials and challenges but in fact compounds and multiples them that when compared to the road that leads to destruction our path can seem like an uphill struggle. We need to accept this and come to terms with it if we are to face up to these challenges and hardships and learn how to successfully overcome them in order to move on and make progress on this path. We must not condemn ourselves or feel down every time we are faced with hardships and challenges be it from within or without for such is the nature of the path of life that we are on – it is fraught with hardship and challenges.
So what then is the nature of these hardships and challenges and where do they originate from? Identifying their nature and origin is the first step in successfully overcoming them. Scripture clearly teaches that the origin of the hardships on this path that leads to life is threefold – our adversary the devil, our environment, the world we live in and our fallen, sinful nature that we are born with. These three all share the same objective – they consistently seek to subvert and undermine our journey on the path of life.
1 Peter 5:7 reveals the true colours of our adversary the devil and his avowed intention toward us – Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
He has no other intention or objective but to devour. The Lord Jesus Himself put it very bluntly when He stated regarding him that …The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). The enemy has no other agenda regarding us than to steal, kill and destroy. He is in fact labelled by Christ Himself as an outright murderer from day one – John 8:44
You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him…
We have an enemy not only on the loose but on the prowl to kill, steal and destroy.
Second, the world we live in and are born into, our “native” environment is inherently hostile to God and subsequently to us too, lending to the hardships we are to face on our journey on the path of life. 1 John 2:15 – 17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides for ever.
Again, the Lord Jesus Himself predicted well in advance that we would face difficulties and hardships in the world we live in. John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Finally, our own nature that is inherited through our genes from our parents is fallen and sinful – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5). Once we are born again and regenerated we indeed become a new creation in Christ like 2 Corinthians 5:17 testifies. However, our sinful nature continues to reside in our physical bodies warring against our new nature …created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). Here are two passages of scripture that clearly testify to this truth.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
2 Peter 2:11
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
It is essential that we know what it is we are dealing with and remain alert at all times, guarding against these three forces with all diligence. All three regularly conspire to cause our downfall and make our journey on the path of life difficult.
But as the Lord Jesus Himself said, He has overcome it all for us – be it the devil, the world or the sinful nature. All we need now do is stand in faith. In the next post we will overview what God has provided us with in order to do so.