Updated: Jan 5
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post early Christians were first called followers of The Way. Of course, Jesus said in John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” So them being followers of The Way, or Jesus, makes total sense. To know and realize that Jesus is the way and to follow that way because we believe it is the only way certainly fine-tunes our focus for living our life. To follow Jesus also means us putting our total trust in Him and Him alone.
If you are trying to get through some thick woods and get to a destination you will need a compass. In our world we have GPS and if you want others to know where you are you can drop a pin to pinpoint your location. For Jesus to be The Way for us we need to trust that He is the right way to our destination, which in our case is heaven, and.....what to do while we are in the middle. We are on a life journey and this journey will go through many wonderful and sometimes treacherous paths. In the middle, Jesus continues to give us insights into where we are and where we need to go. Jesus knows exactly where we are just like a spiritual location pin has dropped and He is fully aware of where we are and what needs to happen next. The Holy Spirit wants to direct us on our path and keep us getting further and further along in our journey.
There are some who believe that God puts us through a constant Bootcamp of preparation to grow us in our spiritual walk. They don't believe anything good will help us grow in our walk and I just disagree with that assessment of the Word of God. Yes, God is going to condition us for possible future problems in our lives, and that conditioning at times is very tough and causes us to believe in God through the bad time. But God also uses blessings to develop our faith walk and when we get to a place of true thankfulness, we will recognize God in those blessings and it will grow us in our faith as well. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. The things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Troubles weren't meant to beat us down, but build us up. We learn to trust God more and strengthen our faith in those troubles. We learn to appreciate the blessing days more and more and to worship God more real in our private worship times. A friend of mine in the ministry and a former youth under my youth ministry leadership surrendered to full-time Christian service. He ended up under some leadership that really sent him reeling. I mean his life was made miserable in the very thing he had committed to and I could relate to his situation very well. After some prayer and soul searching he left that church position and became a teacher in a public high school. He has found a new life in his calling and he is even more called as he has become salt and light in that job, and in life. God took a bad situation to put him in a better situation where he could minister even more effectively than before.
When we are being beaten up in the ministry situation we are in it doesn't mean we have to stay there to get the "full" lesson God has intended. When Jesus sent out his disciples He told them to minister where they could and not waste precious time casting pearls before swine. When you follow The Way time is of the essence, and it is better sometimes to exit a place where you cannot minister to go to a place where you can. I know I have had some weird situations in some of the churches where I have served and it can get to the place where you see no hope for change. When that happens it is time to quit wasting your time and God's talents and exit to a new place where you can follow The Way even more effectively. The early disciples did the same thing and Paul's life was full of moving on when the gospel he was preaching was rejected. The places he wrote letters to were the places where he knew they had "got it!" Each new church site was a testimony of the witness and message of The Way. The Way of following Jesus has many examples of rejection and heartache, but we press on toward the high calling and ask Jesus to guide us in our walk. The qualifications for The Way is a heart that truly believes Jesus is the Son of God and the only WAY to eternal life in glory.
The Pilgrimage Continues...