People often accuse Christians of being narrow minded. Often we protest that we’re not. But Jesus told us we should be.
Jesus said that his way to live is a very narrow way (Mt 7:13,14). There are lots of ways to get lost. It may seem at times that living Jesus’ way is hard; but all the other ways are deadly.
So, because he loves us, Jesus wants us to walk within narrow boundaries. He knows the dangers beyond those limits. In the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7), he laid out what life in his kingdom looks like. He tells us that he expects more of us than the Pharisees had managed, and they thought they were pretty righteous (5:20). Jesus starts out with a couple of practical examples: anger (5:21-26) and lust (5:27-30). Jesus narrows down our options in specific ways here.
We need to remember two things as we think about this startling truth that the Christian life funnels us into a narrow way:
It’s good to be narrow-minded.
Jesus is not saying that the key to righteousness is in obeying lots of rules. He is telling us that the key is thinking like Jesus. The way he thought was very narrow. His thoughts were brought into captivity to the will of his Father, so he was slow to anger (no thought to lose his temper, or fly off the handle); and he was covenantally faithful to his Bride, keeping himself pure for her (no thoughts of other women). We need to be renewed in the spirit of our minds so that we think like Jesus – the Jesus who thought in such a way that his options were narrowed down to stay free in the will of God.
It’s bad to be narrow-hearted.
Perhaps this is what some people complain about when they accuse us of being narrow-minded. Jesus was broad-hearted. He had compassion for all who had strayed from his narrow path, and was always willing to go out of his way to find them. But remember: there’s all the difference in the world between leaving the path to find the lost and leaving the path to have some fun. It’s possible to be broad-hearted (to care for people wherever they are), but narrow-minded (to care for them so much that you want to bring them into the secure way of life that is found only in Jesus).