Entering the Kingdom

Open Your Bible

Matthew 7:7-29, Psalm 16:7-11, Matthew 13:24-30, Matthew 13:36-43, Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus describes what it means to enter the kingdom.

I adore the poetry of Robert Frost. I love his embedded New Englandism, as steady as its granite mountains, and his command of simple syntax. Perhaps his most famous poem is known for a line you’ll likely recognize, one that conjures the image of two roads diverging in a yellow wood. “The Road Not Taken” ends with this stanza:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This poem has been oft debated and never settled, and despite its cultural fame, only Frost knows what his original intent was. Its open-endedness is one of the gifts of poetry, one that offers acres for our minds to wander without much of a map. But the poem’s imagery of “two roads” can help lead us into today’s readings by envisioning a stark choice. These passages include several teachings of Jesus that, in essence, pose the questions: “Will you follow me? Which road will you take: the narrow, or the wide?” (Matthew 7:13). 

There are theological tomes written about each of these stories: the “ask, seek, knock” passage, the two foundations of sand and rock, the parables of the wheat and weeds and of the wedding banquet. There are certainly more nuances and jewels buried in these stories than I may ever have time to learn in this life. But the driving beat in each song is the question of whether we will choose to follow Jesus.

“Will you come to church?” and “Will you be a good person?” are not the questions being asked. It’s much starker and harder than that: Will you follow Jesus in His kingdom? And will your life be fundamentally changed, bearing good kingdom fruit?

These stories offer us a warning and an invitation to take the narrow path toward Jesus, though it won’t be easy. It will cost us a lot in this world: comfort, pleasure, wealth, self-sufficiency, and myriad other things. And our choice, as Jesus says repeatedly, is not a verbal one. It will show in our actions, of how we love others the way He loves them. 

But the good news is that when we follow Jesus on the narrow path, we do not walk alone. The Holy Spirit will be our guide, sealing and securing our place in the kingdom. God’s Word will be “a lamp for [our] feet and a light on [our] path” (Psalm 119:105). And the hardest work, opening the door to the kingdom, has already been accomplished by Jesus. He forged a path to God when it was overgrown with sin; all we have to do is follow Him down the path He has revealed to us. A path where in His presence there is abundant joy, and at His right hand are eternal pleasures (Psalm 16:11). 

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60 thoughts on "Entering the Kingdom"

  1. June Pimpo says:

    Lord Jesus, may I follow you in all things today.

  2. Claire B says:


  3. Dawn says:

    Emily- thank you for your insightful response- it was very informative to me.

  4. Emily Williams says:

    Being a follower of Christ is more than gaining salvation from sins. It’s becoming a living member of the kingdom. Christ came as our atoning sacrifice but He also came as our chief priest. He came fully human to show us how to live a Holy life as a human. Narrow is the road. We can’t just show up yo the wedding banquet. We must show up clothed in His righteousness. Which is gained by fully becoming and participating as a member of the Kingdom NOW.

  5. Sharon Bamford says:

    Allison thank you for your comment! I Can identify with it and especially appreciate the last line, I am making it my prayer too.

  6. Teresa Donley says:

    Free Indeed – What a beautiful prayer you wrote in telling us the areas you need prayer and support. I find myself asking God for the same things…help me to look at myself honestly, and choose to follow Jesus, leaving all my baggage with Him…help me to truly repent…help me to have full trust in Jesus, that he has truly seen the sins in me, and has erased each and every one of them…help me to put this day in the hands of The Holy Spirit and listen carefully to his still, small voice, and choose to follow Him down the narrow path.

  7. Allison Bentley says:

    Anyone who has ever grown fruit ( strawberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, pears and figs are what I have experience with) know that not only do you have to keep pests (insects, birds, deer) away but you also have to watch carefully to harvest at the right time. This good fruit parable just makes me smile because not only to you have to stay connected to the vine but you have to be protected from the pests of this world (what we put into our bodies I.e. social media, music, tv shows and many more) in order to produce fruit and even then it may not be enough!!! Lord I pray I am rooted in You and protected from the evil pests of this world! Amen

  8. Pursued by Him says:


  9. Dorothy says:

    I start my new job tomorrow. I’m excited and nervous. I haven’t worked with adults with intellectual or developmental disorders much. I will be doing some training. I’ve been putting together my own devotionals to do with them; there isn’t much out there I have found. I’m enjoying it though. I’ll also be doing crafts with them which is “right up my alley”. I would do that a lot with Finley and Kyla.

    I’ve been trying to get back into my usual routines. I started reading my devotions at night again as well as SRT in the morning; I did this Saturday night, as well as started planning the devos for my new job and I slept so much better — so much so I slept clear until 5 pm. (Over 12 hours.) Maybe that was part of what was why I hadn’t been sleeping well.

    Be blessed and start and end your day with the Lord and you find your day and night will go so much smoother sisters.

  10. Aimee D-R says:

    Father, thank You for loving us first so we could love You. How I want to shine Your light In Your KINGDOM! In Jesus name, Amen

  11. Pam LambertWhite says:

    Praying for you, for both comfort and courage to continue on this path. We were reminded the other day that when it children come to us to confess something they did, our hearts are tender and break for them, just as our Lord heart breaks for us and he receives us with love and

  12. Brandy Deruso says:

    I hav decided to follow Jesus no turning back no turning back if non goes with me still i will follow no turning back.

  13. Bethany Rice says:

    This revealed so much!

  14. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Lord please abide in me

  15. Adrienne * says:

    That helps explain a lot (wedding clothes) Kay and Mary too… and Sam… and Kelly and…

  16. Adrienne * says:

    Alicia… I am always confused with that too. My study Bible says that many called to God’s kingdom miss out b/c they refuse to respond to the invitation properly… in faith. That does not mean He is unwilling to save everybody, but that some do no listen to God’s word at all. The invitation is there, but many don’t “respond”.

    1. Brandy Deruso says:


  17. Mercy says:

    @ Free Indeed- thank you for sharing your story. I am praying for you, and our God of all mercies will set you free. I love how you choose that name. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). God knows you, He knows all of your ways and He will rescue you from your struggles.
    “You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.(Psalm 139).
    “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” (Psalm 56:8)

  18. Victoria E says:

    ERB I would love to join in on reading Isaiah too!

  19. Kristen says:

    @ Traci Genrond I just listened to Paul Washet preach a message called, Examine Yourself. He talks about how some people believe they are Christian but aren’t. He even says in the beginning of the recording that this message had angered many. However, I kept listening till the end and I am so glad I did. If you want to listen, here is a link; https://youtu.be/Ky8dTyPpiAo

  20. ERB says:

    FREE INDEED, I also know the struggle of this, and really appreciate you sharing! I am praying with you!!

    CEEGEE, so glad you are enjoying reading the comments from Isaiah… I too, love this book and have recently felt led by The Spirit to read it, keeping in mind and realizing the significance of how it pertains to both the old and new testaments…really good stuff!! Maura also expressed interest in reading Isaiah.. so we are doing it together, along with our regular SRT readings… please feel free to join us!!

    MAURA, I wasn’t sure what chapter we were on today either, so I had to go back and look!! Guess we both have a lot on our plates right now! Haha!! I will read chapters 9-10 tonight and we’ll touch base tomorrow…hope your day was super blessed!!

  21. Mary Snyder says:

    Alicia Gilbert – iii. “He came because he was invited, but he came only in appearance. The banquet was intended to honor the King’s Son, but this man meant nothing of the kind; he was willing to eat the good things set before him, but in his heart there was no love either for the King or his well-beloved Son.” (Spurgeon)

    i. “He had, by his action, if not in words, said, ‘I am a free man, and will do as I like.’ So the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him.’ Pinion him; let him never be free again. He had made too free with holy things; he had actively insulted the King.” (Spurgeon)

    ii. This parable demonstrates that those indifferent to the gospel, those antagonistic against the gospel, and those unchanged by the gospel share the same fate. None of them enjoyed

  22. Andrea Silverstein says:

    The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds (MT 13:24-30) encourages me to be the wheat, even among all the weeds in my life. At first glance, it seems like intense competition to succeed as wheat when surrounded by weeds. The wheat can’t do anything to triumph over the weeds. It’s just wheat. However, it was designed by God to be wheat, which means being “just wheat” is enough. I take comfort knowing that the same God who made wheat strong enough to triumph over the weeds chose to make me. I am encouraged by the reminder that by staying true to who God made me, by following his voice in my life, I am also already strong enough to overcome the weeds in my life and find my place with Him.

  23. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Thank you Kay for explaining the wedding clothes:)

  24. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would live my life radically different because I am a follower of Christ. I don’t want to look like a person of this world; though it is so easy to begin to conform to the pattern of this world. I pray that God would give me the power to be in this world, but not of it.

  25. Sam says:

    The man wanted what was good from God (the feast) but did not have love for the King (God) or His son (Jesus).

  26. Traci Gendron says:

    This was a very convicting study. It is a bit scary to think you may be following Christ, but still following the world.

  27. Sarah Pettengill says:

    I wanted to share an excerpt from my study Bible that was a “lightbulb” moment for me.

    To be a citizen in God’s kingdom is the have an:
    1. Upward relationship with God
    2. Inward change of heart
    3. Outward relationship with other people.

    Those who wish to follow Jesus and enter the kingdom must stop living self-centered lives and instead live God-centered one’s. Those who try to achieve righteousness on their own still have self at the center and are still living in darkness. This is not a righteousness that can be attained. Instead, Jesus gives it to those who follow him.

    1. Nina VANCE says:

      Is this excert from your bible?

    2. Nicolette Cox says:

      What study Bible do you have?

  28. Kay Fitz says:

    I had to refer to my study Bible and it explained it this way: “the wedding clothes picture the righteousness needed to enter God’s Kingdom-Christ has provided these clothes of righteousness for everyone but each person must choose to put them on in order to enter the King’s banquet (eternal life)”

  29. Nicole Turner says:


  30. Jessica says:

    @ Free Indeed!
    Thank you for your vulnerability, there is beauty in it. Coming to the realization in all these things is hard, but oh so good. You have been given a lot of encouragement and SRT sisters who are lifting you in prayer. May I suggest to you a book that will bring about a ton a freedom and give you many tools from this day forward? Obviously the Bible is the ultimate truth, but the following book is a very helpful tool. It is called “SOUL CARE” BY ROB REIMER. Look it up, I promise, you will not be disappointed. Bless you!

  31. Kelly Swindell says:

    That’s kind of what I got from it…you will know them by their fruit (in this parable, his clothing). He accepted the invitation, but didn’t prepare himself for where he was going. We have to walk the walk and constantly be preparing/acting upon the truth. We can’t just sign up and show up.

  32. Alicia Gilbert says:

    Does anyone have a good understanding of the wedding passage? I am confused about the meaning of the man who comes after receiving the invitation but who is tossed out for not wearing wedding clothes. Is this referring to someone who acts like a believer but who doesn’t really have a relationship with Jesus? I just found myself frightened by this passage this morning because this man seemed to accept the invitation but was still thrown out.

  33. Nads says:

    Hi Sisters,
    Please say brief prayer for me.

    1) Hubby and I have moved into parents’ home “temporarily” after my dad’s stroke (my dad who managed the household and supported Mom). Hubby is being very patient but, not fully understanding why we’re still here and wants me to establish an “exit strategy”. My parents (justifiably) won’t understand WHY we need to leave when my husband and I BOTH are fully able to ‘work from home’ here…just saying “We have our own home” doesn’t seem sufficient…we live 30 minutes away so popping back and forth also doesn’t make sense. Want to “honour” everybody…always my husband first but, I can see WHY parents wouldn’t understand it.

    2) PLEASE also pray for my sister who is working 6 days x 11 hours each week because having lots of difficulty hiring…pray God sends the “right” person / solution. She’s also starting to struggle cognitively (? as a result)

    3) Many young people (20s-40s) around us dying in past 1-2 weeks with various causes…trying to keep my eyes on Jesus. Please pray for their loved ones and that I can hear clearly the refinement God wants in MY heart!

  34. Heather O’Malley says:

    @free indeed! Praying for you, sister, that you would experience the newness of being born again in Christ. The old is made new, and He makes beauty from ashes. I pray for continued courage through His power to face your past and repent of your sins, but also that you would not let your past define you.

  35. Terri says:

    Free Indeed: Praying for complete and total healing for you and that you are able to receive it. Praying for wisdom for you in all that you do. Believing that the Holy Spirit is with you and guiding you and comforting you. Welcome Him into your life.

  36. Victoria E says:

    Free indeed- I am praying for you.

  37. Victoria E says:

    Heidi thank you for posting that wonderful prayer

  38. Alexis says:

    Free Indeed- I stand beside you in prayer. Know God sees your heart and will be with you every step of the way. Thank you God, that you are a good father, a God that forgives our transgressions and throws them in a sea never to be remebered by you again. Thank you father for the grace that you give and your love for us. Amen.

  39. Deb H says:

    Holy Spirit lead me where Jesus goes, down His path and not my own. His path is where He is present and there is joy in abundance! I praise you Jesus and thank you for already opening the door to the Kingdom of God! Your word is a light on my path.

  40. Maura says:

    So much concerning the Kingdom, where I want to enter in dressed in what He has clothed me with. I pray Lord you remove anything that is not of you and that I serve you in a way that blesses in the storm, in the want, in the good, make my heart about the will of the Father, and help me to be obedient to the ways you direct my path and the Holy Sporit guide me and help me to honor the Lord in all my ways. In Jesus name I pray. Erb, I read the wrong chapter, my mind was thrown off. I read chapter 10. I will read 7 later and comment then but running behind now. Thank you for your insight. His love to you and all you my sisters. May we be ready as His bride for the wedding banquet and bring many clothes in His righteousness with us. Glory be to God!

  41. free indeed! says:

    SRT Sisters, I need prayer. I appreciate so much that this is a safe community that I can bring these raw and vulnerable thoughts to. The Lord’s kindness leads to repentance, and I am so thankful for His kindness in illuminating just how damaging my actions can be and how misaligned my heart is right now. I just started counseling last week. In doing so, I’m realizing more and more how my patterns of thinking and natural instincts are unhealthy/toxic. I am now seeing the subtle ways that I often use manipulation and “little” white lies to twist the truth or gain the upperhand in an argument or tense discussion. I am so ashamed. Part of me wants to run away and hide behind my shield of being “a good person” in the world’s eyes. But I know the Lord is calling me towards Him, and to examine my heart and dig deeper into issues of insecurity, abandonment, loss, and abuse from my childhood. This is so scary for me. Sisters, can I ask you to pray for me? Pray that I be brave enough to be honest about the ways my heart/mind have used sin to protect myself, instead of turning to Jesus for that security. There were times in my childhood where those kinds of hard decisions were necessary for safety, but I’m an adult and it is not so anymore. I need help to break these thought patterns, I need to find a way to not always view myself as the one in the “right”, as the victim. My actions are hurtful at times. Help me to honestly view myself, to be able to see where I need to grow and allow myself to be changed by Jesus. Help me to trust that the Lord, who sees right through me into all of the ugly and broken parts, loves me anyway. His word tells me that He does. Help me to repent sincerely. Help me to release shame from past actions and trust the Lord when He says I am forgiven in Christ. I have dreams of a family and being a mother someday. I grew up in a home with emotional/psychological/physical/sexual abuse – I want better for myself and my future family!! I have hurt in me that only heaven can heal. I need the Lord’s help to break this cycle. Please, Jesus, don’t give up on me!! I want to seek You and be changed by You!!

    1. Pam Williams says:

      Praying. When those thoughts come, take them captive, call out to Him,. God has made us neuroplasticians who can take every thought captive to obey Christ. We are free indeed!

  42. Christina Fowlkes says:

    This is a beautiful reminder for me that our thoughts, decisions, actions, choices, and words must all be girded up in Christ. As we obey the Holy Spirit we bear good fruit. As we submit our lives to Him we follow Him down the narrow path. It’s not something that just happens, we have to choose daily to pick up our cross and follow him. When we believe in and accept the Salvation that Jesus gave us we are endowed with the power to live like Him and for Him. Thank you Jesus

  43. CeeGee says:

    HEIDI and TAYLOR, I love your heart reflections this morning and the prayer from the podcast. Thanks for posting that, HEIDI! I am going to write all of them for future encouragement.
    ERB, I am enjoying your comments about Isaiah each day. Isaiah is one of my favorite books in the Bible. I am missing Tina, too, and pray all is well with little Ollie and his mom. God bless!

  44. Sara Ketter says:

    I’m reminded that the good fruit is the fruit of the spirit, I really don’t even grow it, the Holy Spirit in me will produce this fruit, I need only to acknowledge and believe, interact with this Spirit in prayer and in His holy word and He will produce this fruit in my life; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I follow Jesus down the right path and my thoughts and actions change as I pursue him, which hopefully others will be drawn to and beginning following Jesus with me!

  45. GramsieSue . says:

    All we have to do is followHim down the path He has revealed to us. So good. ❤️

  46. Jennifer Ficklen says:

    Help me to always take the narrow path to you Jesus! I want to walk on the road that leads to eternity with you!

  47. Heidi says:

    This weeks SRT podcast dropped this AM and I haven’t gotten thru all of it yet but wanted to share on here the daily prayer that the guest, Lysa TerKeurst, wrote and prays each morning. It was so beautiful…

    “God, I want to see You. God, I want to hear You. God, I want to follow hard after You. And I know, God, You are good. You are good to me. You are good at being God. Therefore, this morning, I trade my will for Thy will because I’m so assured that You will guide me through this. Thank you that I don’t have to figure everything out. As I walk into this day, I’m intentionally going to look for someone to forgive, someone to bless, and evidence all around me of Your goodness. Amen.” —(Lysa’s daily prayer to orient her heart toward the kingdom of God)

  48. Taylor says:

    Definitely a convicting passage for this Monday morning! Lord, remove from me any area in my life that is not bearing good fruit. Even when I’m too weak or stubborn to remove those areas on my own, please continue to work in me to give me the strength and courage to take a step of faith and cut off those areas that are not honoring to you. I want to follow You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Thank you for making a way for me to do just that! Thank you for your sacrifice, your love, your mercy, and your faithfulness. Amen <3

  49. ERB says:

    That poem from Robert Frost has always been a favorite…it always makes me reflect on what road/path I am choosing to travel on.. and it almost always makes me think of the song “Road to Zion” written by Irving Berlin and sung by Petra …here are the lyrics:

    “There is a way that leads to life
    The few that find it never die
    Past mountain peaks graced white with snow
    The way grows brighter as it goes
    There is a road inside of you
    Inside of me there is one too
    No stumbling pilgrim in the dark
    The road to Zion’s in your heart
    The road to Zion’s in your heart
    The river runs beside the road
    Its waters living as they flow
    In liquid voice the water calls
    On thirsty knees the pilgrim falls
    Sometimes a shadow dark and cold
    Lays like a mist across the road
    But be encouraged by the sight
    Where there’s a shadow, there’s a light
    Sometimes it’s good to look back down
    We’ve come so far – we’ve gained such ground
    But joy is not in where we’ve been
    Joy is who’s waiting at the end”

    Such powerful and encouraging lyrics. The journey is about continually choosing to draw closer to God no matter how it may look! We must always “get up and follow Him”

    I also really liked the wheat/weed parable and its meaning. God is so good to us!! So faithful…

    Maura, Isaiah 8… verses 12-13 and verse 20 stood out to me!
    12 “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”
    20 “Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.”
    …to me, it shows how fine-tuned our hearing and ears have to be to the Holy Spirit and that our actions & choices (& the motives behind them) have great effects.. May we live our lives fully surrendered ❤️

  50. Heidi says:

    I want good fruit. I want to leave good fruit in the hands of everyone i come into contact with. God, please help me nourish myself with the goodness of your Word so that what naturally comes out of my is nothing but the sweet flavor and fragrance of Your existence. Let it be attractive and good. Remove from me the things that allow bitterness and rotten fruit to form. YOU are good. Help me represent Your goodness in its purity and truth, not my own twisted interpretation of that goodness that I may use to serve myself first and others last.

  51. Katie Schisler says:

    All though we accept salvation from Jesus once and for all we have to choose everyday what road we are going to take. The day we chose to follow Christ we didn’t automatically go on auto pilot. We have to walk the path Jesus directs and show our choices by our actions. Such good food for thought today!

  52. April Wilson says:

    Bearing good KINGDOM fruit brought such conviction to me this morning. Is what I’m doing and how I’m living just being good? Or is it kingdom work?

  53. Eileen Dowd says:


  54. Prue Anne says:

    I feel theLord would want to say to you Kelly, ‘but I know you,’ in psalm 136.2 it says, “you know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar….”it goes on and we love the passage it because it speaks of His knowing us before we were born and how vast and wonderful that knowledge is.. be comforted; his grace is sufficient and his love is abundant ♥️

  55. Ashlyn Vermillion says:

    Is my life fundamentally changed, bearing good kingdom fruit? My choice to follow Jesus is not a verbal one … it shows in my actions of how I love others the way He loves me.
    Thank you SRT for the conviction this Monday morning!

  56. Kelly says:

    Scariest verse in the Bible to me: Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’
    Lord help me to continually be seeking, asking, and knocking so that You move in me to do Your will.

    STRUGGLING – Psalm 23