The Way

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV)

This is a familiar verse to many of us. It is simple enough that a child can easily memorize it. Yet it is deep enough that we can come back to it time and again and take away more meaning.

I was recently reminded how this verse both unites and divides people of faith. It unites us by focusing on the central message of Jesus and stripping away all other interpretations and traditions. It divides us by focusing on the central message of Jesus and stripping away all other interpretations and traditions.

No one comes to the Father except through me. This is the exact opposite of conventional philosophy, which tells us that many paths lead to God. It is true that there are many spiritual paths we can follow. But they do not all lead to the same place. Far more life seeks the path which leads to the God of the Bible, who is also known as Yahweh, Jehovah, or the LORD. This path is laid out in the Bible, in this verse: through Jesus. There are many paths to Jesus, but He is the gatekeeper of the path that leads to Father God.

I am the way. Jesus does not claim to be one of many ways to the God of the Bible. He clearly states He is the only way. People pursuing paths apart from Jesus are pursuing a different god. Far more life embraces Jesus as the way to Father God.

I am the truth. Jesus does not offer His message as one possible truth. He boldly proclaims He is the human expression of God’s truth. He is the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecies concerning the Messiah. All His words and actions are living demonstrations of the truth of the God of the Bible. People living according to any truth apart from Jesus are living for a different god. Far more life embraces Jesus as the truth of God manifested on earth.

I am the life. Life is translated from the Greek word zoe. It speaks of a present physical and future spiritual existence. It includes eternal vitality, animation, breath, and vigor. Jesus is the only source of eternal life the Bible offers to finite humans. People who define life as something separate from Jesus are describing something different than the life offered in the Bible. Far more life begins on earth and continues for all eternity in Heaven with the God of the Bible.

We have free will. We can choose the path we take. We can choose what we believe as truth and which sources we trust in determining what is true. We can define life in our own terms. But if we claim to be a Christian, then we need to follow Christ, on His path, accepting His truth, and embracing His perspective on life. If we are not willing to do that, we should be honest with ourselves and others about the path we are following and the destination toward which we are heading.

The Bible records other statements that help us determine whether we want to pursue its path.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)

People joke that they wish they had an instruction book for life; they do! The Bible — God’s Word — reveals the principles, instructions, and perspectives that will allow us to find and follow God’s path.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, NIV)

Light allows us to see both dangers and beauty. Jesus is our spiritual light. Following Him allows us to tell moral light from moral darkness, right from wrong. This light provides us with life: the vitality, animation, breath, and vigor to experience a satisfying connection to God and His best forever.

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)

The prevailing belief is that most people are in good standing with God and will go to heaven. But God’s Word says otherwise. Jesus is the narrow gate that provides entrance to the road leading to life. Far more life adopts His way, embraces His truth, and revels in His life.

…I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psam 23:6, NIV)

A wise friend of mine once pointed out that if we do not want to follow God and His ways now, it would be miserable to be stuck in Heaven with Him for eternity. If our desire is to be with God, we will happily go through Jesus to get to Him.

Sisters,
Do you believe Jesus is the only way to the God of the Bible? If not, what is the basis for your belief in a different path?
Do you believe all Jesus does and says is a demonstration of God’s truth? If not, how do you know which of His statements are trustworthy?
Do you believe Jesus alone offers us physical and spiritual life? If not, what life are you pursuing and what is its source?
You can step onto the way, accept the truth, and find far more life today. Just confess to Jesus that you have been following a different path but want to join Him instead. Share you decision with a friend who is also on Jesus’ path!
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso

Understanding

As a youngster, my son regularly proclaimed, “You don’t understand!” in frustration when I did not agree his way was best. He was convinced that if I accurately grasped his perspective, I would embrace his idea or plan.

We can feel the same way about God’s instructions and decisions. We trust our wisdom and experience because they usually serve us well. So when God’s Word tells us to do something that disagrees with our assessment, we may look for loopholes: “Surely He did not literally mean to resolve all anger before the sun set” (Ephesians 4:26) or “He cannot expect me to love someone who abused me” (Matthew 5:44). Or we may outright reject His instruction by saying it is outdated or does not apply in our circumstances.

These responses are part of our limited human understanding. And they are not new. Despite the changes in circumstances, we face the same basic temptations, challenges, thoughts, and responses as people who lived centuries ago. King Solomon noted:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV)

People have always doubted and questioned God. One contributing factor is that He does not usually reveal His reasoning to us. I was surprised to find this verse describing God’s choice for the Israelites’ path when they were escaping Egypt:

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. (Exodus 13:17-18, NIV)

I’m sure some of the Israelites thought God made a bad choice. We have the benefit of knowing His reasons, even though they did not.

When questioned why He was washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus only offered this cryptic and unsatisfactory answer:

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7, NIV)

In reality, we do not understand. We know some things. We have some experience. But we overestimate ourselves and underestimate God. As a result, we are tempted to fight against God’s ways. We may argue, beg, plead for Him to embrace our ideas and preferences. We may reject, dismiss, or despise His ways and pursue our own path.

But we have another option, one that leads to far more life.

But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. (Psalm 131:2, NIV)

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

We can rest in God, trust Him, and yield to Him. But we must humble ourselves and acknowledge His superiority. He states this truth bluntly:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12, NIV)

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (I Corinthians 1:25, NIV)

When we accept these truths, we can focus on understanding Him instead of proving ourselves. We can trust His intentions toward us rather than fighting to prove our worth. We can rest in His knowledge and character rather than having to protect, defend, and promote ourselves. In this way, we bring Him honor and glory.

But, to do this we must have an accurate view of Him. Many people think God is cruel, distant, harsh, judgmental, apathetic, or uninvolved in their lives. They do not want to obey a god like that — I would not, either! Fortunately, those are inaccurate descriptions of the God of Scripture.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (I Timothy 1:17, NIV)

He is the King. He is at the center of His realm and holds it together. He is aware of what is happening. He is engaged and decisive. He has a plan and is implementing it. He is not afraid of anyone or anything. He takes on responsibility for the wellbeing of His people. He provides for them, protects them, and genuinely cares for them.

He is eternal. God created the time in which we exist, but He is outside of time. Unlike us, He has always existed and will always exist. Our lives are just a moment of His existence. His reign will never end.

He is immortal. God will never die. He is indestructible. He is always alive and active.

He is invisible. Although we cannot see Him with our eyes, God made His nature and power visible through creation (Romans 1:20). He exists in a dimension we cannot access, yet makes Himself accessible.

He is the only God. There is no pantheon, family, or council of gods. There are no changes as different gods take control. There is no threat to His rule. He exists as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, but He is One.

That is just a taste of His character! God understands us better than we understand ourselves. He invites us to understand Him so we can follow Him wholeheartedly and find far more life.

Sisters,
What tempts you to think God does not understand you or your circumstances?
Looking back, can you see times when His way was better than what you thought was best?
What makes you reluctant to rest in, trust, and yield to Him?
What aspects of His character have you experienced? Which do you need to better understand to follow Him wholeheartedly?
Thank Him for offering you far more life each step of your journey!
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso