Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” (NLT)
You are dying. There is only one neurosurgeon in the world that can perform the type of operation that will save your life, but he is a long distance away and you would have to make some sacrifices to see him. You have two good neurosurgeons in the city where you live. They have never performed this type of operation before but said they would try. You like them and its convenient. There is only one shot at this. Would you choose one of them, or seek out the one who is guaranteed to save your life?
“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.” (NIV)
You and your kids are caught in a fire in a a movie theater. Everyone is rushing to the closest exit and pushing and shoving to go through the easiest access point. You spot another exit further away, but few people are heading that direction and you would have to go against the crowd to get there. Which one would you choose?
Everyday we have choices. It is one of the gifts that God has given to us from the very beginning of our existence. While in Eden, God didn’t have to plant the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He planted it to give Adam and Eve a choice. They could choose to trust God or choose to understand like God. God knew the truth about good and evil, but Adam and Eve didn’t. When tempted, Satan used that very argument to convince them to choose the latter. This decision was very unfortunate for you and for me.
Now we are stuck knowing good from evil. That is great and all because I like to see the shadows from the light, but that is only helpful while on this side of Heaven. It sure would have been nice just living in the presence of God with that tree completely ignored for an eternity.
Their decision is now our decision. So many people get frustrated that Jesus is the only way. They wonder how this possibly could be true? It seems very vain and exclusive, doesn’t it? I mean really. THE only way? I might as well forget it. I might as well run to the exit from the burning fire licking my coattails where everyone else is going. I might as well pick the surgeon in my backyard and hope for the best, right?
I often wonder why people view Jesus as such a big bad bear that bonks people on the head and tells them how awful they are, and if they don’t follow Him they will forever be hated by God. That following Jesus means giving up everything that is fun and joyful and we must wear these lead handcuffs and perform multiple acts of goodness for this bear to even glance in our pitiful direction. I am always amazed how people view Jesus as anything but the Savior that He came to be. Satan is doing a very effective work blinding us from the truth.
Following Jesus would be exclusive if He excluded certain people and only loved and saved a certain type of person. Is your heart beating? Then He came to save you. That is His only criteria. Following Jesus would zap your joy and fun only if He hated Joy. In John 15:11 Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
Sin initially feels fun and joyful doesn’t it? How often do we run down this path in the dark only to see it as it really is when the sun begins to shine? Sin isn’t so pretty then, is it? It’s not fun and joyful when the light hits and we look around and our marriages are destroyed, our families are broken apart, and our integrity is in shambles.
Jesus didn’t come to zap our fun. Who created love and gave Himself unto death out of love? He came to zap our sin. Remember Adam and Eve’s decision? Because of the decision they made, we are forced to make ours. Sin is covering us like Saran™ wrap. We were born into sin because of the fall. Jesus came from glory to live in our Saran™ wrap world so He could make a way for us to uncover ourselves from this clinging, suffocating, strangling hold it has on us. All He asks is that we admit we are sinners, ask for Him to unwrap this from our bodies, and choose to keep sin at the foot of the cross and follow Him.
My personal sin decisions still have scars that are gouged into my heart. They weren’t much fun. Jesus wasn’t there to wag his finger at me, either. He was there to love me and free me from the hold sin had on me. Following Jesus doesn’t mean we are overburdened and have to live life like a monk. Satan likes us to believe this lie. Don’t.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
Raise your hand if you have burdens, feel weary, and need rest? I don’t think I can stretch my hand high enough to show this is me. Does partying offer you rest? Does an affair unburden you? Does lying make you feel gentle? Does cheating on an exam make you feel humble? Insert any sin and answer these questions honestly.
Now that the fruit has been eaten and we all have the knowledge of good and evil, can you admit that there are times in your life that you have sinned? That the choice you made wasn’t in the direction of good? That sometimes we can feel like we just keep wrapping ourselves in another layer of Saran™? We think not choosing Christ is the easy answer because following Him is too hard. Unburden yourself and choose joy and freedom. I don’t know of anyone else that willingly gave up everything and died so I could be set free of my sin. Jesus didn’t choose the easy answer. He chose the best answer. Now it’s your turn.