As disciples of Christ, we must seek to put Him and His kingdom first. This becomes clear as we study Matthew 6:22-23 and 7:13-14. In the first section, we are told to keep our eye single to the glory of God, and in the section we are reminded of the narrow gate and the strait path we must follow to return to His presence. It becomes clear as we study these four verses that the presence of God is not something we can just “wander” into.
First, let’s look at the verses in chapter 6. Make sure you take note of the Joseph Smith translation in the footnotes (in fact, as you study chapters 6 and 7, notice that there are quite a number of these to be aware of). Thus we learn that our eye must be single to the glory of God, and then shall we be filled with light.
To be single to God’s glory, we must turn our eyes to focus on our Savior. We must then keep our eyes fixed in that direction. I may have mentioned the “lost scout” story previously, but it bears repeating. When you are lost in the woods and are trying to take a straight course, you must start at a large landmark, such as a distinctive tree. You then fix your eyes on a tree that lines up in the direction you are going. Once you get there, you turn back to the tree you came from and line it up with your current location; then you find another tree or landmark in a straight line from where you came from and proceed. If you do not keep your eye fixed on the landmark, you will wander, possibly in circles, and remain lost.
Similarly, we must keep our eyes fixed on God. As we do so, our path will be straight, and we will come home to His presence. If we do not keep our eye single to His glory, we will wander in circles and not arrive home with Him.
Now turn to chapter 7. We are told again (as we have been told throughout the scriptures) that we must enter in at the strait gate, for the gate leading to the world is wide and broad, and many wander into it. Few find the strait and narrow way that leads to eternal life. We know that the gate we must enter is repentance and baptism (2 Nephi 31:17-20), and that we must then endure to the end by continuously keeping the Lord’s commandments.
Why do few find the strait and narrow way? Because they try to wander into it. If you wander through life without focus or purpose, you will easily pass through that broad gate. If you desire to return to live with Heavenly Father, you must diligently seek Him. You must keep your eyes firmly fixed on the path you wish to follow. You must search high and low for that gate, and then remain on the path by constantly pressing forward, seeking the Lord.
Returning to God’s presence takes diligence and effort. It is not the easy path. The easy path, the simple way, the way that takes no work, is to wander into the world with no care for your eternal destiny. Thankfully, we know that “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). As we seek Him with all our heart and soul, we will take joy in serving Him. Great, then, will be our happiness when we stand in His presence again.
The rest of this week’s lessons can be found by clicking the Gospel Doctrine category link on the right.