By Ricky Chelette
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” – John 14:6
We often use this passage in reference to talks about Jesus being the only way to heaven. It certainly means that and I believe the scripture is clear that there is but one way to heaven and that is through the work of Jesus – accepting and believing in what He has done on our behalf to make us right with God.
But I’m afraid that despite how wonderful this verse is, we can easily miss the more practical declaration of our Savior. You see, Jesus didn’t come just so you and I could have a better life. He didn’t come just to solve our problems or heal our sickness or help us feel better as we live in this world – though those things may happen in a relationship with Him.
Most of seem to view Jesus and the work of the Gospel as a big Santa or Grandpa in the sky with supernatural powers that allow us to live better lives now. But what if that “better life now” never happens?
What if instead of a promotion you get fired? What if you get diagnosed with cancer? What if you pray for a friends healing and instead, they die? What if life in this world is simply hard and burdensome and it doesn’t get easier? Will you still follow Jesus then?
What I believe Jesus is communicating to us in John 14 is not simply that He is the only way of salvation, but He is the only way, period. Jesus wants us to want Him more than we want anything else. He has no desire to simply be in our lives, He wants to be our life. When Jesus becomes our life, when spending time in His presence and simply being with Him becomes the priority of our hearts, our lives are transformed. We are filled with joy, not because things are working out for our pleasure (in fact we may be experiencing the most difficult times of our lives), but because we are with Him and He is our life.
We spend incredible amounts of time, energy, effort, money, and will chasing everything but the One who can give us what no one else can – a peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). It was the secret to every Patriarch’s success. It was the hallmark of every apostle. It was the very thing that drove Paul to write this almost incomprehensible statement “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) Paul had abandoned the idea of trying to make his life work because He had discovered it never would. By abandoning his pursuit of personal control and temporary pleasures, he surrendered Himself completely to the pursuit and presence of Jesus. This is why he could say while in prison, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Phil. 4:11) Could you be content in prison chained to wall, sitting on a stone floor? Paul was because his circumstances did not determine His life. Jesus did.
Are you pursuing Jesus for what He can do for you or because He has already done for you what you actually need if you would just treasure Him above all. May we take seriously His admonition to us. May Jesus truly be our LIFE!