At first glance, it can feel as though what Jesus is saying here is exclusive and restricting — especially when we view it through the lens of the culture. But what I can now see in these verses is how Jesus starts out with an invitation: to enter in. The invitation itself isn’t given exclusively to a certain group or type of person; we know by Jesus’ ministry that He always invited the outcasts and needy in. However, the pathway itself is exclusive because it is only through one small gate and down one narrow road that we are able to find eternal life.
This reminds me of somewhere like Disneyland, where you pick the ride you want to go on and then stand in the correct line in order to get on your chosen ride. Those lines are both inclusive and exclusive — anyone and everyone is welcome to get in line, but only one line will get you to Space Mountain.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the enemy is usually as clear with us when it comes to letting us see where the road we’re on will get us to. Many times in my life I have gone down the wide road, not realizing the destruction and darkness I was walking into. Now I’ve learned that all it takes is to seek God and allow Him to reveal where the decisions, thoughts, people, places, or things I’m involved with are leading me. He is always faithful to show us His ways, and it’s His desire to keep us from stumbling.