“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
I have been reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer for nearly six months. We started as a small group covering 20 or so pages at a time. Now there are only two of us still at it … who have found Bonhoeffer’s thoughts so dense and meaty that we can barely digest them.
So I’ve invited Mr. Bonoeffer, deceased for almost 70 years, but whose words are still as relevant for us believers as the day he first wrote them … to share his thoughts on the narrow way from Chapter 19, The Great Divide —
“To be called to a life of extraordinary quality, to live up to it, and yet to be unconscious of it is indeed a narrow way.
To confess and testify to the truth as it is in Jesus, and at the same time to love the enemies of that truth, his enemies and ours, and to love them with the infinite love of Jesus Christ, is indeed a narrow way.
To believe the promise of Jesus that his followers shall possess the earth, and at the same time to face our enemies unarmed and defenceless, preferring to incur injustice rather than to do wrong ourselves, is indeed a narrow way.
To see the weakness and wrong in others, and at the same time refrain from judging them; to deliver the gospel message without casting pearls before swine, is indeed a narrow way.
The way is unutterably hard, and at every moment we are in danger of straying from it.
If we regard this way as one we follow in obedience to an external command, if we are afraid of ourselves all the time, it is indeed an impossible way.
But if we behold Jesus Christ going on before step by step, we shall not go astray.
When we know that, we are able to proceed along the narrow way, through the strait gate of the cross, and on to eternal life, and the very narrowness of the road will increase our certainty.”
Thank you, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, for always pointing me to the Word and towards my relationship with Jesus. You have given me much food for thought these last few months.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in Breslau in 1906. The son of a famous German psychiatrist, he studied in Berlin and New York City. He left the safety of America to return to Germany and continue his public repudiation of the Nazis, which led to his arrest in 1943. Linked to the group of conspirators whose attempted assassination of Hitler failed, he was hanged in April 1945.
The Cost of Discipleship was published in 1937.