Jesus said, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:14). Jesus gives three descriptions of the narrow gate. First, the narrow gate is the hard way. The adjective, “hard” (thlibo), means, “press, rub together, hence, compress, make narrow.” (Friberg) Friberg translates the Greek, “literally restricted is the road that leads to life, i.e. in order to receive eternal life, one must live as God requires (MT 7.14).” The word, thlibo, is related to another word in Matthew, thlipsis. Jesus said, “Yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation [thlipsis] or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matt. 13:21). The hard way is linked with tribulation.
The narrow gate is the hard way. It is a way of trials and tribulation because you follow Christ. It is a way of pressure and persecution because you obey God. It is the way of the cross because you honor Christ. In fact, in Matthew’s Gospel, the Christ-follower is one who suffers great hardship and persecution in Christ (Matt. 5:10-12, 44; 10:16-33; 24:9-10).