Life has a way of turning out not the way we want it to, and not the way we expected. It twists and turns and heads in unexpected directions, even when we have our eyes wide open.
John gives us a picture of a God who pursues us in the mess of our lives, who comes to our rescue even though we don’t deserve it. The people Jesus encountered in John were not so different from you and me. Sure, the culture and technology were different—no indoor plumbing or smart phones—but take a look at the people Jesus encountered, and how they responded to him. Religious
leaders wanted his head, while others secretly wondered if he might be right. He met all kinds of people: A woman who was an outcast among the outcasts, parents worried over sick children, friends and relatives, fishermen and crowds, governors and beggars. They were all looking for a way of life that worked. In other words, they were just like us.
Most of us are muddling through life. We aren’t trying to do much more than make it. We’re scrounging our way through with only a vague notion of what life ought to be like. An ancient Hebrew prophet named Isaiah put it this way: “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own”
How’s your way working out? Is it really working?
Here’s the thing, there isn’t a magic formula for better living. Life just doesn’t work that way. If you read through this book, you’ll see pretty quickly that it isn’t just a pamphlet from the latest self-help guru or a plan for getting a better job or being successful. This book is about finding a way to live a life that matters through the
mess. It’s about finding something worth living for that goes beyond ourselves. It’s not safe and it’s not easy, but it is worthwhile.
The “way” that we’re all looking for turns out not to be a philosophy of life or a code of conduct. It’s not a list of rules or raging against them. The way is not a religion, either mine or yours. It’s not a thing at all. Instead, it’s a who. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). The way is a person.
We need a new perspective. All of us. When “the way” isn’t a self-help program or seven keys to success or a get-out-of-hellfree card, the conversation changes.
Jesus says that when we die to ourselves, when we stop trying to find the magic thing that will make us happy or good or whatever, and instead give ourselves to him, something remarkable happens. We get life. We suddenly find solid ground to stand on no matter where or who we are.
There is no hard sell here, no “turn or burn” scare tactics. It’s an invitation to a different life. It’s not about having all of your problems fixed. It’s about living a real life in the here and now. Christians call it the gospel, the Good News about Christ. What it means, in a nutshell, is that no matter how much we screw up and
wander around like sheep, God is still there ready to have us back and to walk with us in the way of Jesus.
That’s a way worth exploring. The question is simple: Are you willing to change your way?