“Enter through the narrow gate.” (Matthew 7:13)

That narrow gate! It’s tighter than the gap between the do’s and don’ts that we’re all familiar with. So you don’t lie, injure or kill—but what about forgiving a person who has grievously hurt you? You steer clear of coveting, cheating, and stealing— but what about giving financially, even though finances are tight? That’s a constricted road, for sure.

And how do you take time to encourage someone else, when you feel lonely and dejected yourself? Oftentimes, we just don’t. Instead, we take a deep breath, turn side­ways, and hope we can squeeze through that narrow gate anyway.

Actually, no one passes through this gate alone. so don’t ever think you have to walk that constricted road unaccompanied. The Holy Spirit living in you ushers you through. He provides you with the wisdom and understanding, patience and fortitude that you need. He will show you where the gate is for you: whether it’s forgiveness, generos­ity, sharing more of your time, or countless other ways that you may feel constrained. He will help you through it, even when it seems a tight squeeze.

One word of caution: The Holy Spirit is no “fairy godmother,” who waves a magic wand and gets you through the gate automatically. Nei­ther does the Spirit instantaneously infuse you with all the wisdom and knowledge and willingness you need to navigate the narrow passages of life. No, he wants to form your mind as you ponder the word of God and the teachings of the church. He wants to soften your heart as you sit with him in prayer and worship him in the sacraments. He wants to teach you how to hear him, through thoughts or ideas he plants in your mind, or through the word and examples of trusted friends. He wants to show you the way of humble obedience—the way through the narrow gate!

If there are times when the way seems too hard and the gate too nar­row, remember this: God wants you to make it through! There may be scrapes and bruises along the way. But Jesus became a man. He healed and delivered and fed all those who came to him, so that they might enter into life. Let him do the same for you. Let his Spirit help you.

“Lord, I want to enter into life. Help me to seek you and trust you as I travel the road.”

2 Kings 19:9-11,14-21,31-36; Psalm 48:2-4,10-11