“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt 7:14)

I DON’T LIKE TO BE THE ONLY ONE. I don’t think anyone does. It is uncomfortable to be the only one arriving late for a wedding. It’s embarrassing to be the only one who didn’t realize it was a costume party. Nobody likes to be singled out, separated from the group, standing alone. That makes following Jesus a singularly uncomfortable experience for nearly everyone who seriously undertakes it.

Followers of Christ face continual and nearly overwhelming pressure to conform—to conform to the world and its way of thinking, to conform to a version of the gospel that places self at the center, to conform to the often subtle expectations of whatever group we find ourselves in. The price of nonconformity is loneliness. To avoid that, we almost always surround ourselves with like-minded people. Nobody likes to stand alone.

To follow Jesus is to leave the superhighway and its legion of commuters bound for the same city. It is to leave even the secondary road, with the company of occasional fellow travelers, and take the unpaved lane that winds its way into a footpath. To follow Jesus is to walk a narrow road without the camaraderie of the crowd, without the affirmation that comes from being part of a large group. To follow Jesus is to listen to one voice and go wherever it leads.

Ask Jesus to direct your steps today.

Lawrence W. Wilson is the author of A Different Kind of Crazy (WPH) and coauthor of The Long Road Home (WPH). He lives near Indianapolis, Indiana.

© 2017 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.