Strait and Narrow

“Enter ye in at the strait gate,” said the Savior:

For wide is the gate,
and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.

(Matthew 7:13-14, 3 Nephi 14:13-14, 3 Nephi 27:33, italics added)

The word “strait” means “cramped” or “strict.” It can also refer to a difficult situation which requires precision and discipline to navigate effectively (as in “dire straits”). In contrast with the wide gate and the broad way which are easy to follow, the Savior pointed us to a strait gate and a narrow way, which require intentional effort to enter and to follow.

In Lehi’s dream, a “strait and narrow path” led to the tree which represented the love of God. It was not easy to stay on that path; many people lost their way and failed to arrive at the tree (1 Nephi 8:20, 23).

Lehi’s son Nephi later taught that the gate to enter that path is baptism. After explaining why the Savior would need to be baptized, Nephi wrote:

It showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them.
(2 Nephi 31:9)

Baptism puts us on the path. A path is not a rest area or a destination. It’s not a place for complacency or relaxation. It’s intended to guide us toward a destination. As Nephi reminds us, entering the path is a great start, but it’s important to keep moving forward:

And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate….
And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
(2 Nephi 31:18-20)

Today, I will remember that the path to eternal life is strait and narrow—rigorous and precise. Following the path requires effort and self-discipline. I will strive to obey God’s commandments with exactness, knowing that His goal is to lead me toward eternal life.

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