Is Strait and Narrow Confining?

by H. Wallace Goddard
Meridian Magazine

"Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life."
(Matthew 7:14)

The scriptural observation that the way is strait and narrow is not very encouraging for people who love to roam and explore the mortal landscape.

I wonder if God would endorse a re-write for these latter-day frontiersmen: "The possibilities are many and the gates are varied. Have a great time wherever you go."

Strait and narrow just seems so confining.

My life course has seemed to be painfully different from the paths of some people I revere the most.

A few years ago it occurred to me that the strait and narrow may not be a single path which is the same for all disciples; the path could be strait and narrow but still be customized for each of us.

It makes sense that the individualized curriculum would be tailored to fit each unique disciple.

The "strait and narrow" does not have to be any more confining than a carefully-tailored suit or a warm and heavenly embrace.

The "gate" is nothing more than turning our lives over to Christ. Maybe the strait and narrow path is that customized, personalized, and divinely-designed curriculum which He has developed for each one of us who is serious about being stretched to "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." To go through the gate onto the path involves a commitment to be piloted by Christ.

What could be sweeter than being filled with the charity that comes from Him whose name is Love? Who could we better trust with our hours and eternities than Him who coordinates the orbits of electrons, planets and galaxies in beautiful harmony?

When we think about finding our way along the path, we naturally think of the iron rod.

Yet for those of us who are more attracted by the loops and jerks of a roller coaster, the iron rod does not sound like the right guide for an adventure trail.

But we are in for a surprise.

There is yet another sacred meaning for the word of God. (Isn't it is just like God to provide a sacred truth with multiple layers of discovery fitted to our maturity?)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)
When Nephi teaches that the iron rod is the word of God, my favorite interpretation is that the word of God is Jesus who is the only true guide for getting us to truth, glory, happiness, and home.

He is the Way. He is as solid and reliable as iron.
"For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss." (Alma 37:44)
I wonder if "straight" should be understood here as something other than an unvarying and tedious highway across Nevada; maybe straight means direct.

Maybe God will not waste a minute of our lives if we are willing to take Jesus as our guide.

Maybe every twist and turn in the strait and narrow will minister to our eternal well-being.

In inviting us to travel the strait and narrow, God is not mandating a single, uniform, standard personal history; He is inviting a single-minded covenant.

Is it not cause to rejoice that the God of the universe would reach across eternity both to guide and to sanctify our experience? Should we be surprised that the greatest mystery of all time is also the simplest truth?

He aims to redeem us. He will do it if we will turn our lives over to Him.
"For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto exaltation, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me." (D&C 132:22)
When He invites each of us to relinquish our stranglehold on our own puny lives, may we turn to Him in earnest resolve. Only He can get us to the arms of Heaven.
"Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God which shall lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course.

And land their souls at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down . . . with all our holy fathers, to go no more out." (Helaman 3:29-30)
(edited by David Van Alstyne)
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