(As an aside this week, I have been thinking about the Catholic's practice of baptizing children, and if in the Bible it talks about being baptized by immersion, why do they not do it that way, as adults. I have thought about asking my Catholic coworkers, but not sure I want to get into that discussion with them. So, that is something I am curious about. )
In verse 9 of chapter 31, it says "And again 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.
We are then encouraged to repent, and be baptized, and do the things which Christ has done, keep the commandments and endure to the end. Then in verse 18, "And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, yea have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost."
So I started thinking about why is the way narrow and strait...
I searched the question and found something from Biblehub.com, where it said that "narrow is the way" means "Literally, pressed, or hemmed in between walls or rocks, like the pathway in a mountain gorge." I thought that was interesting - because that might suggest that it is easy to stay on that path, because the borders on each side would keep the traveller contained therein.
In the same commentary, the difference between "straight" and "strait" is addressed. Straight is meaning "not crooked" and strait means "pent up, narrow, difficult to be entered." So the choice of using "strait and narrow path" makes sense.
Here is a quote from the Biblehub site "This is the word used here, and it means that the way to heaven is "pent up, narrow, close," and not obviously entered. The way to death is open, broad, and thronged. The Saviour here referred probably to ancient cities. They were surrounded with walls and entered through gates. Some of those, connected with the great avenues to the city, were broad and admitted a throng; others, for more private purposes, were narrow, and few would be seen entering them. So, says Christ, is the path to heaven. It is narrow. It is not "the great highway" that people tread. Few go there. Here and there one may be seen - traveling in solitude and singularity. The way to death, on the other hand, is broad. Multitudes are in it. It is the great highway in which people go. They fall into it easily and without effort, and go without thought. If they wish to leave that and go by a narrow gate to the city, it would require effort and thought. So, says Christ, "diligence" is needed to enter life. "
I hadn't previously thought much about that symbolism. From another commentary on the page, "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,.... And so, difficult to enter in at; and when entered, the way is unpleasant to the flesh to walk in, being hedged up on each side with afflictions and tribulations". At first I was thinking about the walls being there helping to guide us, in regards to the first definition of "narrow", but this gives a different insight, that suggests it is difficult an unpleasant to walk that strait and narrow way.
Being a member of the church all my life, it has been an easy path for me. I have not struggled in my faith, and have not ever had the temptation to go astray, there has not been anything that has caught my eye that would tempt me to leave the path. I have felt the blessings of the gospel throughout my life and will continue to stay.
In verse 19 of 2 Nephi 31, we are asked if that now that we are in the strait and narrow path, is that all? "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." I have felt this more in the last two years of my life. With Mark's illness and passing, I have come to more fully understand how we must rely on our Savior Jesus Christ. If not for the promise of the Atonement and eternal life, and the knowledge I will see my dear husband again, I don't know that I would have the desire to go on.
Verse 20:" 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." This is what I must do. I will not give up hope, I will live a righteuous life so that I may see him again. I am working on the "love of all men"... some days it is a challenge.
I am grateful for the strait and narrow path and for parents who taught me when I was young to follow it. I pray daily that we have instilled the same desire in our children to stay in the narrow path, for I know that is the way we can all find everlasting joy.
I will finish with this story entitled No Bulls in the Ditch (as told to Sheila R & Francis M Woodard)(from the Liahona, Oct 2001)