The Names of God

      The Way

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life;

no one comes to the Father but through Me."  John 14:6

Jesus is the Way - the only way - to life with God today and forever.  Yet, millions of seekers are choosing spiritual paths that lead to bondage, disillusionment and despair. Most seek blindly, for they can neither read nor follow God's signposts.  They don't see the chasm that separates His Way from Satan's way, nor will they seek help from the only One who can bridge that gap.

At life's most significant crossroads, they pick their pathway for its temporary attractions and exciting promises, giving little thought to the ultimate destination.  "Why follow that narrow, old road when fast, new super-highways beckon?" taunt the voices of popular culture.  "Your way is no better than any other.  Every path leads to the same universal end: eternal bliss with a loving God."

No, they don't. But deception becomes the rule as the masses march along the time-worn tracks of history. Once again, we re-live the Old Testament age when "everyone did what was right in his own eyes." [Judges 21:25] Few heed God's warnings, though they seem tailor-made for our times:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." Matthew 7:13-15

God's Way differs radically from man's way. And it makes little sense to human nature and today's pleasure-seeking crowds. For God's way up is down. His way to honor comes through humility. His way to joy leads through pain. His path to life leads through death - (1) the redeeming death of our wonderful Savior and, through our union with Him, (2) our own death to self [the "flesh"] and sin.

Peace, purity, perseverance, a closer walk with Jesus....  The fruit of this dying process are far greater than any suffering He calls me to endure. Yet how often I would have chosen to walk around -- rather than through -- those valleys of death that lead to greater life.  I know that "all things work for good," yet I still turn my eyes from my all-sufficient Lord to the sharp rocks along the way, while my all-too-alive human nature complains, "I didn't see these hard places on the roadmap. What happened?"

Patiently, He answers,

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways... For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways...." [Isaiah 55:8-9]  "Trust in [Me] with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." [Proverb 3:5] "Be strong in the Lord" and "press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 6:10-12;  Philippians 3:14

"Forgive me Lord," cries my repentant heart.  "I was foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless, I am continually with You. You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." Psalm 73:22-24 For,

"Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26

So we go on together, my Shepherd and I.  Again, the path grows steep and rocky.  Well aware of my weary frame and dragging feet, My Lord gently calls me to Himself and shows me the way to triumph over each obstacle: "Come...  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

His gentle voice reminds me that His best way for me means sharing His path of suffering:  “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it." Luke 9:23-24

What must I "lose" to gain His best?

Anything that holds me back, weighs me down or dulls my discernment. Any counterfeit that shifts my reliance from my wonderful Lord to hollow substitutes. Anything that weakens my confidence in His sufficiency. And anything that clouds my vision or distorts my understanding of the Way.

 Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to the Auka Indians, said it well: "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what cannot lose."

To finish my journey with Him in triumph, I willingly give Him my life and submit to the searching, cleansing light of the Holy Spirit.  On my own, I would stumble and fall under the weight of sin and needless burdens. But my Shepherd has freed me through the cross, and He continues to wash away the dust and dirt from each daily journey. He has opened my eyes and filled me with His life, and I want no part in the lures that blind and the lusts that captivate. I would be a fool to trade my precious liberty for the world's captivity.

"For many walk," warns Paul, "of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.  For our citizenship is in heaven...." Philippians 3:18-20

When I am tempted to stray from His path, I trust that He will draw me back to Himself. For He has told me, "Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or... to the left."   Isaiah 30:21

How can I respond to His kind assurance and priceless promises?  I will echo the words of David, His beloved psalm writer,

“To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You....
Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day." 
Psalm 25:1-5

Will you join me on this narrow road? You won't be sorry.  For "blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long" for "You are the glory of their strength."  Psalm 89:15-17

"Therefore... let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

       "Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, help me stand...." You alone can point me to the true eternal life of unending peace and joy. Whenever I begin to turn to the right or to the left, please point me back to your goal. Remind me to follow your bright beacons of truth - the special road signs that lead your people safely along your paths. Thank You, beloved Shepherd, my one and only Way.

References:  Eternity

Proverbs 3:5-7;  Psalms 25:1-5, 8-9, 12;   37:5, 23-24;   86:11;  110:7;  143:8;

 Isaiah 30:21,  55:8-9;   Jeremiah 21:8;  Ezekiel 33:8-9, 17;  

Matthew 7:13-15, 11:28-30;  Luke 9:23-24;  Hebrews 12:1-3.

What it means to be a Christian

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