“Enter by the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction,
and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life,
and those who find it are few” (Matt 7:13-14).
If the gate is narrow and the way is hard, why would I want to choose the narrow gate? It sounds unpleasant. Life is hard enough. And when I look around today, everyone else seems to be taking the wide gate and the easy road.
But those words in Matthew . . . Jesus said them.
Standing at the crossroads, peering down one road and then the other . . . the road Jesus calls me to take looks dark and difficult, like a long road of drudgery—responsibilities, suffering, and good behavior day after day. Boring.
The other road appears thrilling, packed full of new experiences, enjoyment, and excitement—and definitely more entertaining. More fun for me.
But here at the crossroads, questions come to mind. Is the easy road as fun as it looks? Is it satisfying? If it leads somewhere bad, why do so many go that way? If I enter by the narrow gate, will I still have friends? Will I find happiness and fulfillment? Can I do what I want?
Life experiences show me I’m often deceived. On the easy path, thrills bring no satisfaction. The relentless pursuit of momentary happiness leads to emptiness that grows and even aches sometimes, leading to that dark place. In the end, the road leads to destruction. Hell. The loss of God forever.
The narrow path might seem harder, but it’s really not. Jesus doesn’t just direct us to the path, He walks with us. And when walking with Him, everything is transformed. Crosses become not only bearable but rewarding. Beauty is found in the most unlikely places. And even in darkness, one possesses interior joy—which the world cannot give or even understand. And in the end, the road leads to everlasting happiness. Heaven. God forever!
Every moment of every day, we walk along the path of our choosing. If we are following Jesus, we’re on that steep and narrow path. Sometimes this road seems difficult, with boulders and brambles strewn in the way. Other times, this road will take us through the clouds, where our spirits soar with eagles. But Jesus never leaves us to walk alone.
Sometimes we try to straddle both paths, or we find ourselves where we never planned to be, on the wrong path. The solution: intentionally walk with Jesus, turn to Him often, with every joy and trial, at every crossroad or obstacle.
Let Him walk with you. Let Him guide you. It is His greatest joy, and it can transform all into joy for you. It is the hardest thing. It is the easiest thing. Journey with Jesus.
Not sure where to begin? Let fictional characters inspire you.
Read how characters face crossroads concerning vocation, like Gabriel in Guarding Aaron and Keefe in Standing Strong.
Or as they struggle to remain on the right path when faced with old temptations, like Tanner in Freeing Tanner Rose or Jarret in Standing Strong.
Follow sixteen-year-old Paul Porter and his new friend Rachel in Rightfully Ours when the wrong path looks very tempting.
Or see how Cloud follows Jesus in Saint Cloud of Gaul when he’s not even sure what the narrow path looks like.
Maybe God is calling you to a specific mission or the adventure of a lifetime like Eve in Where You Lead.
Or you're facing something harder, like fifteen-year-old Daniel in The Boy Who Knew, who received a devastating diagnosis that changes his life forever. See how Blessed Carlo Acutis helps him turn away from fear and despair.
These are just a few of the stories you’ll find at Catholic Teen Books to inspire you as you journey with Jesus.
Image by Einar Storsul on Unsplash.com