I recently started watching the Star Wars saga. I convinced myself I would never get into Star Wars, but I did. It began with a slight curiosity about the films, which led me to watch the original 1977 movie. Which then led to finishing the trilogy. Then the sequel trilogy. Then the prequels. And now I’m working my way through the series. But of all the films I’ve seen so far, none have captured my heart like the Obi-Wan Kenobi series did.
Without spoiling too much, one of the Empire’s greatest warriors ultimately chooses good over evil in the finale. Instead of killing the Jedi, she surrenders her lightsaber. In one of the most touching scenes in the series, Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi says to her, “Who you become now, that is up to you.”
That simple, poetic phrase is what resonated with me more than anything. I couldn’t forget that nine-letter sentence: “Who you become now, that is up to you.”
I never thought a Star Wars quote would hit me that hard. But for weeks, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I’m at a pivotal point in my life. As I enter college, I must make a lot of decisions. I won’t always be under my mom and dad’s roof, so I won’t always have their guidance. I have to decide who I will become, as will you.
Keeping with the Star Wars analogy, there are two forces in this world: there’s good and evil, love and hate. There comes a time in our lives when we must make a choice. We must choose between one of these two forces. Will we follow Jesus’ path of life and peace? Or will we choose the enemy’s path of evil and destruction?
The choice is ours to make.
Of course, we’d like to say we’re on the good path. But, we often stray, without even realizing it, to the road of destruction. With every hurtful word we speak and destructive decision we make, it’s easy to begin to backslide. It’s easy to choose evil instead of good.
But, thankfully, we aren’t alone in this fight.
Jesus knows entirely what each of us is facing. He understands the temptations. For 40 days, Jesus faced temptation from the devil in the wilderness. He, too, had to decide: would He follow the good way or choose evil? The devil said if Jesus just bowed down and worshiped him, he would give Him the kingdom of the world.
But Jesus knew that this world was not His home. So He chose the good, true path. Jesus overcame temptation and stayed the course. He can help us do the same.
Today, I want to dig deep into this fight against good and evil and the choices we all must make. If who you become is ultimately up to you, we should view the decisions we must make. Let’s dive in.
Switchfoot, “This Is Your Life”
There comes a time when you must consider who you’ve become. We all must come face-to-face with the question: “Is this the life I want to live? Am I the person I should be? Have I lived my life to the fullest?”
We all probably have different answers to those questions. Personally, my response is mixed. Somedays, I feel I’m doing exactly what God has called me to do. On other days, I feel like I could be spending my few days here on Earth in more fulfilling ways.
It’s easy to let distractions detract us from fully living. It’s easy to let culture define who we are and listen to a world only looking for thrills and pleasure. But the truth is, the world can only provide temporary fulfillment. We see this constantly when people turn to drugs and alcohol for satisfaction; or fashion, technology, and porn for joy. But slowly and subtly, these things are eroding the joy from our lives. They’re robbing us of the lives we should be living, turning us into the kind of people we don’t want to become.
Friends, there is a better way to live.
Instead of wasting our lives on temporary thrills, we can choose to have a beautiful, meaningful existence. It starts with a simple choice: to live for something–or in this case, Someone–greater.
We can choose the broad or narrow path.
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teaching, He said: “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 the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 [NIV])
We often think this parable is an analogy for heaven and hell. I believe it’s that, but I also think Jesus was getting at something deeper here. I believe Jesus was talking about where we’ll spend eternity and also the quality of our lives here on Earth.
If we follow the road leading to destruction, it will be broad. We’ll be able to roam–recklessly living however we want. But in the end, it will only lead to pain. However, if we follow the narrow road, there may be trials. It won’t always be easy, and there will be moments when it feels as if the walls are caving in. But what it leads to is ultimate joy and fulfillment: Jesus Himself.
What path are you on? It’s your choice to make. You can follow the ways of this world, which seems pleasing at the time but only leads to sorrow and pain. Or you can follow Jesus, which, although challenging at times, leads to joy beyond all comparison.
One of my favorite songs from the alt-rock band Switchfoot is “This Is Your Life.” The group recently rereleased it in honor of its 20th anniversary, and the song still carries the same weight it has had for the past two decades. The beautifully poignant lyrics ask, “This is your life/Are you who you want to be?“
Perhaps your answer to that question is a resounding “No.” Maybe you’re ashamed of your past. The mistakes you’ve made and the people you’ve hurt. It’s become like a weight on your shoulders, constantly pulling you down. You wish you could go back in time and right your wrongs.
While you can’t change what you’ve done, you can change who you become.
Will you waste your life on temporary thrills on the broad path, or will you beautifully spend your life on the narrow road? The choice is yours, as it is mine.
“This is your life/Is it everything you dreamed that it would be?/When the world was younger, and you had everything to lose/Yesterday is a kid in the corner/Yesterday is dead and over.”
Gable Price And Friends, “Repentance”
So many stick to the broad path because they believe Jesus won’t accept them back on the narrow road. Some think they’ve messed up too badly for forgiveness as if they’re too far gone for God’s love.
But let me tell you: you’re never too far gone to accept God’s grace and forgiveness. You can move away from the path of destruction and towards Jesus Christ. He’s standing on the narrow path with arms wide open, ready and willing to accept you back home.
I love the story of the prodigal son. Maybe you’ve heard it before, or you’ve been called a “prodigal” yourself.
The prodigal son had experienced all the momentary joys the world had to offer; he partied and slept with prostitutes, doing all that sounded pleasing. But in the end, he was left (quite literally) in the dirt. When his money ran out, he succumbed to working as a hired hand, feeding pigs. He was well acquainted with the broad path–and soon realized it only led to destruction. He was starving and at the end of his rope. But he had a choice. He didn’t have to stay stuck like this. A moment came when he had to decide who he would become.
He could choose the narrow road instead. The prodigal son knew the narrow road wouldn’t always be easy, but it would be better. He would have food and a wonderful family who loved him–or would he? Would his father truly accept him if he came back home? After all, before he left, he took his share of his father’s inheritance–practically saying he wished his father was dead. So he nervously started rehearsing his speech, hoping he could at least become his father’s slave.
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you,” the son anxiously rehearsed in Luke 15:18-19 (NIV). “I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.”
With his script memorized, he set out for home. I can only imagine the questions racing in his mind. Would his dad rebuke him? Beat him? Yell at him? These thoughts must have plagued him with every step he took.
But something unusual happened. While the prodigal son was still a long way off, “His father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20 [NIV])
The son tried giving his father his well-rehearsed speech. He said he wasn’t worthy to be his son. But his dad wasn’t going to have it. Instead, he clothed him in a robe, put sandals on his feet, and gave him a feast.
Despite the sins the prodigal had committed and everything he had done wrong, his father could only respond with love and compassion. The father held him close and welcomed him back home.
Many grew up viewing God as an angry tyrant, ready to strike down any who fell out of line. But this is not the God we see in the Bible. The God we see is a father ready to welcome you back home, no matter how many times you stray. He’s the father running towards you, with His arms wide open in full embrace. He’s the God who gives you a choice–who lets you choose who you’ll become.
Gable Price And Friends have a song centered around the story of the prodigal son. The bridge is the climax, declaring, “I built my kingdom, it collapsed at my feet/I nurtured my idols, they betrayed me/And I saw you standing on my prodigal street, mouthing, ‘I love you,’ my boy/When the stars all fade on my golden road/And my income fails to carry me home/I see you standing with your finest robe, saying, ‘I love you.’“
God doesn’t want to strike you down because you fell out of line. He is graciously welcoming you back home. He’s standing on your prodigal street, mouthing, “I love you.”
You are never too far gone to accept His love and forgiveness.
“When every idol fails to comfort me/And my own skin and bones are stripped off of me/I’m gonna look at the holder of eternity and scream ‘I love you’/This is my repentance/I’m sorry, I love you, I’m coming home.”
David Dunn, “Spend A Life”
Before we move on, we need to understand why Jesus is beckoning us to join Him on the narrow road. While many believe Jesus merely wants us to be “good people” and trek the narrow road to get a free ticket to heaven, the answer is much deeper than that. Of course, Jesus longs for us to join Him in His heavenly kingdom. But He also wants to commune with us here on Earth in this brief life we’ve been given.
In other words, Jesus doesn’t want us to waste our one shot on Earth on meaningless things. He doesn’t want us to squander this beautiful existence we’ve been given. In His kindness, He wants us to journey on the narrow road so we may live a complete, meaningful life.
Choosing the narrow road doesn’t just mean spending eternity with Jesus. It also means sharing the here and now with the King of Kings. It means making the most of your days here on Earth.
Since David Dunn released his song “Spend A Life” in 2019, the lyrics have become ingrained in my memory. They’re constantly in the back of my mind, reminding me of the brevity of this life. The hauntingly beautiful chorus says, “All I have is what You gave/Watching seconds turn to days/I was made for more than just to/watch it fly/A few more turns around the sun/Could be hundreds, could be one/Show me how to spend the treasure of my time/Show me how to spend a life.”
The world is tempting. It sounds much easier to choose the broad path, to “follow your heart” and “live your truth,” as the popular mantras declare. But that road will only lead to destruction. However, the road Jesus offers, although challenging at times, will only lead to joy and ultimate fulfillment.
Do not be deceived: the narrow road is anything but boring. Following Jesus is an incredible adventure. The narrow path means actively stepping outside your comfort zone, reaching the unreachable, and living in closeness with Jesus. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but it does mean making choices that please Jesus. It means spending your life in a way that honors God and follows the path of life.
So, how are you going to live your life? To bring this article full circle, I want to leave you with the quote we started with. “Who you become now, that is up to you.”
You only have one shot at life. Will you choose the broad or narrow road? The choice is yours, as it is mine. I hope you’ll choose the path that leads to life because you’ll find true joy through it. While the world offers temporary happiness and quick fixes, you have the gift of true joy and fulfillment before you.
What will you choose?
“Don’t let me waste it/Don’t let lose it/Don’t let me steal it for myself/I know it’s precious/I know it’s priceless/I know my time is flying by.”
Grace Chaves is NRT’s News Editor and one of our youngest writers. She’s been part of NewReleaseToday since 2019 and is continuing her journey by majoring in Writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.