“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13-14
In life, we are faced with decisions each day, some that are easy, and some that may be very difficult. The decisions we make and how we choose to deal with individual circumstances determines which road we are traveling. Remaining on the narrow road takes a great deal of thought, concentration, and dedication. An important step in the ongoing process of personal development is to be able to discern between the broad road and the narrow road, and then choose the correct path.
The Broad Road
This road is often known as “the path of least resistance.” When we travel the broad road we compromise our beliefs rather than fight for what is dear to us. Or we may not even know yet what really is important.
Traveling the broad road means not having to make difficult decisions. Instead, we bestow the power to make those decisions on someone else, burdening them with our responsibilities. Or we make the choices that lead to a more comfortable life, but provide little in the way of fulfillment.
The broad road may provide a sense of achievement through the accumulation of riches, but such a road will usually leave the soul wanting for a life with deeper meaning.
The Narrow Road
Taking the narrow road is usually the more difficult choice, and involves selflessness and personal awareness. This road is not for the selfish, as it involves giving of yourself for the good of others.
Although the narrow road can be a challenging one, it is full of rewards along the way that provide great happiness and fulfillment.
When you come home from work, exhausted from too many hours in the office and not enough hours spent sleeping, and your little boy asks you to play ball with him, you are being asked to choose between the broad road and the narrow road. Those who travel the broad road will divert the child’s attention to something else, while the person traveling the narrow road will go outside and savor the opportunity to play.
When you see a colleague engaging in unethical behavior at work, you are being asked to choose between the broad road and the narrow road. Those on the broad road will choose to ignore the behavior, as long as it does not involve personal repercussions. The person traveling the narrow road will feel compelled to address the employee or go to a supervisor.
There are many decisions to be made in life, all of them placed at our feet so we may learn to develop a strong moral character. We are constantly being asked to choose between the broad road and the narrow road, and can stray off of either path quite easily.
Knowing the Difference
For some people, knowing the difference between the broad road and the narrow road can be a challenge. A simple way to decide which path you are on is to ask yourself if the actions you are taking provide any benefit to others. This is particularly important when it comes to decisions regarding family, and the person who is serious about personal development will make the choice that benefits the family.
Another simple way to realize the difference between the broad road and the narrow road is to ask yourself whether you are being asked to do something hard. If you can honestly say you have a difficult task or a tough decision to make, you can bet you are being asked to choose which path to take.
The most important aspect of personal development with regard to the narrow road is wanting to make the difficult decision. When this happens, you realize the value in traveling the narrow road and are open to the wondrous experiences traveling this little inhabited path might provide. You realize that life cycles through prosperity and challenge, and you are open to fully experiencing both.