From the very beginning, most of mankind has chosen its own way and rejected God’s way. Many people are familiar with the choice made by Adam and Eve, for which God put them out of the Garden of Eden. “So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). God would not give Adam and Eve eternal life after they chose the way of disobedience. They had not learned God’s way, so He would not allow them to take of the tree of life and live the wrong way forever.
In the millennia since then, only a very few have learned God’s way. Abraham was one of those few. God came to know that Abraham would “keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice” (Genesis 18:19). Moses, in describing the history of Israel, concluded: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways” (Deuteronomy 10:12). Moses, Aaron, Miriam and a few others chose God’s way. The rest of Israel did not—and suffered the consequences as a result.
The books of Joshua, Samuel and Kings all urged Israel to live God’s way. So did the Psalms, and the writings of the prophets. The prophet Isaiah pleaded, “‘Let the wicked forsake his way… For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:7-8). Sadly, Israel chose its own way and suffered the consequences.
The late Frank Sinatra was famous for singing a song titled “My Way.” The song, penned by Paul Anka, repeats the phrase: “I did it my way.” No doubt we could all sing this phrase about ourselves, for we have often gone “our own way” in the past.
By contrast, Jesus Christ plainly declared, “I am the Way” (John 14:6). Scripture describes the “Way” as “a new and living way” (Hebrews 10:20). Christ made the Way—God’s Way—available to mankind through His sacrifice. Living that Way requires repentance, followed by baptism, receiving the Holy Spirit, and learning to live a new and different way prescribed by Scripture.
Before he was converted and became the Apostle Paul, Saul was among those who persecuted the followers of Jesus. Saul wrote to the authorities seeking permission for his activities, “so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:2). Followers of the way were called a sect; Paul recalled after his conversion that he had previously persecuted those of “the way” but that after his conversion, “according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things written in the Law and in the Prophets” (Acts 24:14).
Later, followers of the Way came to be called “Christians.” Yet, ironically, most who call themselves “Christians” today do not live by the Way that Jesus Christ taught! What about you and me? Are we in “the Way”? Are we, like Paul, “worshipping God and believing all things written in the Law and the Prophets”—the way taught by God since the very beginning, and magnified by Jesus Christ who personified the way to live?