Bible Reading: Matthew 7:13-14, Luke 9:57-62

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

“Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

If we were to stop meddling in mere religion, tagging along with the church lifestyle of our parents, renounce all our underhanded worldly ways, and decide to follow Christ wholeheartedly, life would be hard, and the path only gets narrower. 

First off, we need to come to terms with the fact that we are pilgrims on this earth, and this world is not our home ( I am reminded of 1 Peter 2:9-12). Jesus said to the person who promised to follow Jesus wherever He went, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). If we truly follow Christ, we must know that worldly comforts are not for us. We do not live for fun times or happy memories. Our treasure is walking with God. Our greatest joy will be revealed in full when our Master calls us home. Death will be our reward. Reflect honestly on yourself. How many of us can really say with Paul, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)? 

Secondly, following Christ means that everything we do in life must respond to obedience to God. When Jesus called another to follow Him, but that person made the valid excuse of burying His father, Jesus pointedly said, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60). Is it always wrong to pay tribute to your own family? The answer is no if that is what God calls us to do at the moment. However, for this man, Jesus had a higher calling and following Christ means obeying Him whatever the cost. If we are to follow Christ in this way, there is no leeway to get what we want. There is no opportunity for “me time”. You obey now and always until you die. However, paradoxically, we will find more profound joy and satisfaction in our walk of obedience than we will find anywhere else. 

Lastly, following Christ wholeheartedly means no turning back. If we decide to put our hand on the plough and surrender our lives wholly to Christ, we live for His kingdom, and we do not return to our worldly ways. The world will no longer be our joy or our pursuit. Rather, Christ alone will be our joy and His kingdom the ultimate and only goal in our life. 

These words sound pleasing to the protestant ear, and all good reformed teens will say amen! But in reality, the path is very narrow. The way that leads to life is hard, and few find it. What Christ demands is our whole lives, our whole future — every second of it, every corner of our desire and heart. So each of you must count the cost for yourself. As Jesus said in Luke 14:28, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”

Lord, following You is hard. Yet, for me, it is worth it for what can a man gain if he forfeits his soul? I surrender all to You once again — every inch and second of my life. What is there to desire in this world but You? What purpose and meaning is there but to follow You? Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth. Incline my heart to fear Your name. In Jesus’ name, amen.