John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Living a Christian life takes commitment. The Christian life takes discipline, faith, openness, a loving heart, and submission. All of these characteristics are important to a Christian walk. However, the most important part of the Christian walk is the belief in Jesus. Jesus is the only way to the Father and the key to a Christian walk.
This concept should seem obvious. And, to most, it is obvious. However, to many followers, when the name Jesus is used, a level of discomfort creeps in. Outside of the Christian walk, following Jesus is a misunderstood and uncomfortable notion. Following Jesus as the way to the Father narrows the road.
Out in the world, talking about God does not have the same divisive energy as talking about Jesus does. Talking about God in general allows for a supreme being but also allows a person to continue to keep control over his/her life. For them, following God can be living life as a “good person” and doing more good than bad. When you follow Jesus, there is a stronger commitment required. To follow Jesus requires believers to follow the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles. There are many out in the world that have a desire to believe there is a God, but are not willing to commit to following all aspects of Jesus’ teachings.
When a Christian tells people that there is only one way to God, it goes against their selfish nature. For them, to follow Jesus is to give up some freedom. Those who are uncomfortable with following Jesus as the only way to God do not want to be held back by what they think is a narrow view. Ultimately, they do not want to be told that their eternal life is in danger because they do not believe in Jesus but believe there is a God.
Unfortunately, even among believers, there can be a level of discomfort with talking about Jesus. I believe that the world has infiltrated our churches to the point that at times our churches are teaching a more general following of God and not making Jesus the center of the Gospel.
Jesus talks several times throughout the Gospels about knowing the Father is related to knowing Him. If we are to live the Christian life to the fullest, we must put Jesus in the center. I love to want to see the compassionate, kind, loving Jesus in the Gospel. But, what I have to remember is that Jesus also challenged people, especially around following Him.
It may seem narrow, but there is only one way to the Father. Jesus said so here…and mentioned it many times, in many ways during his short lifetime. For me to continue to walk with God, I must follow Jesus and His teachings. I am reminded of the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. The wise man hears and puts Jesus' words into practice. The foolish man hears Jesus' words but does not put them into practice. As uncomfortable it may be at times, I must follow Jesus.
1. Where have you seen that Jesus has become a polarizing figure?
2. What are some of the excuses (or perceived excuses) for just following God and not Jesus specifically?
3. When in your life has talking about Jesus made you uncomfortable?
4. Where in your life do you need to apply Jesus’ teachings more fully?
5. Spend a little time each day this week in silence paying attention to what Jesus may be telling you.
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