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Monday, February 26, 2024

His Way or Our Way


Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

—John 14:6



Have you ever come to a place where you realize that your way just doesn’t work? If we are honest, I think we can admit we all have. We search for answers and whatever else we need and come up short. Then we finally get to the point where we just give out. 


“Why do you make life so hard?” Jesus says. “Your search to find answers and help for whatever you need begins and ends with me. I am the only Way.”


We know that not choosing the Lord’s way is just foolishness, but we often end up going our way instead of His even when we don’t mean to. It is because we live in this fleshly body and a fallen world that shrewdly deludes us with options that appear to be good but aren’t.


It is easy to recognize the side of our flesh that is so obvious—the side of blatant outright sin. However, there are sides of the flesh that are not so apparent. Some things trigger our flesh to respond in ways that subtly pull us away from the Lord’s way. 


One is when we become everyone’s problem solver. I understand this subtleness of the flesh in my own life. Growing up I discovered that I easily could see solutions to problems. I could see the steps to bring organization out of chaos. When something needed a resolution, I came up with a solution that I thought benefited everyone involved. However, this ability developed in my earlier years into perfectionism. I begin putting demands on myself to do things perfectly at home, at church, and in my relationships with other people. I always had an unspoken pressure to do things right. Knowing I could “rightly” get something done, I pushed on ahead. Others, instead of being inspired to help, became dependent on me. I found myself frustrated with them and with myself.  


One day I heard the Holy Spirit. “You are not the way,” He said. “You are not the truth or the life. I am. You aren’t supposed to fix everything. You aren’t supposed to make everything just right. Trust me instead of yourself.”  It was a wake-up call that is a lifetime decision I consciously must make every day. 


When you make people dependent upon you, you become their solution and it hinders them from seeking God for themselves. When you have a mindset of “I am the only one who can do this,” you rely on yourself to the point you end up burning out in frustration. When you believe your way is the only way and you are the one to be sure it gets done correctly, you start getting anxious with people when they don’t measure up to your expectations. You expect something from them that you haven’t taken the time to share with them. They haven’t learned any skills to help. You have been too busy doing things for them.


Another subtle trigger to the flesh is the “agenda” which consumes you. An agenda, which becomes your obsession, is greater in your life than anything else. It is your whole focus. Your perspective regarding situations and relationships is determined by your agenda. You cannot objectively see from someone else’s viewpoint. The ability to make fair and just decisions is totally skewed.


You may also have been inspired by God to do something specific. The flesh can rise up against you when you attempt to accomplish it in your own wisdom and timing. When your flesh determines the way to bring forth God’s work, you end up instructing God instead of Him instructing you. 


God’s grace is for us. But God’s grace is not for us in what we direct and control. Grace is received in humility. God cannot bless pride. When we take control, we follow our version of His way instead of following Him.


Being in control is a convenient way to get things done quickly. Things might appear really good because you see good results, but the truth is when you are in control, you are only proceeding in your own way. The devil has his mark all over your efforts. He will let you taste success for a while, but that success will not last.


“It is the Spirit who gives life,” Jesus said. “The flesh profits nothing. The Words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).


We won’t experience the peace and joy God has for us when our flesh gets in the way. Our way is death, and the things we attempt to do our way won’t produce fruit. God’s work is alive. He is the truth, the way, and the life. Anything we receive from Him can only be fruitful. But that is only true if we carry out His purpose under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. 


When the Lord says that His Words are spirit and life, this is our wake-up call to take notice. Our part is to totally surrender and listen to Him. In surrendering to Him, we keep our relationship with Him alive and fresh. When we walk in His Spirit, those triggers to our flesh become obvious. Our hearts become open to His way and to the Spirit’s leading. When we walk in the Spirit, we receive the joy and peace of the Lord. We receive His very best and His power to keep the flesh from rising to control us.




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