UCAN sharing: Dead End
Scripture: Matt. 15:13-14 and Matt. 16:24-27
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Jn 14:6
When we get lost trying to find our way be it on a trip or in town it takes a toll on us. We may get lost or stuck in traffic. This in turn has consequences such as making us miss an appointment or keeping someone waiting. If we invest time and energy in to doing something only to find out that it isn’t what we expected this leaves a lasting impact in who we are. Whether it be a relationship, a business or just a day event if our expectations were wrong and we followed a way that concludes with nothing we lose more than just time and energy. In our spiritual life we need to be aware in how and what we invest our lives in. It is too easy to become complacent and wander off from God’s perfect will. We may lose sight of God’s will or we may not have ever given ourselves to it so that we don’t know what it is to walk in victory in God. If this is the case we live from one dead end to the other never gaining much out of life. Many Christians absorb the values of this world and then allow it to change how they interact with God. The world will always lead us to dead ends spiritually so our only hope is to follow Jesus all the time.
When we are dealing with our spiritual life if we make the decisions as to how we will live and what ways we will follow God we will most certainly end up at a dead end. Look at the Pharisees they devoted much time in learning the scripture. Jesus calls them out because they believed that if they knew the scripture they would have eternal life but Jesus let them know the scriptures point to him (Jn. 5:39-40).
39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
They created many rituals and rules that had to done if one was to be right. But Jesus calls them whitewashed tombs, blind guides and vipers (Matt. 23). Jesus calls points out that they had traded their ideas for the truth. In this way, they made the word useless with their traditions, rituals and rules (Matt. 15:5-6). So if we are ever to find the truth to life we can’t do it. Eternal life can’t be had by religion which is works. Any time we try we will become like the Pharisees trying to make it happen by works and that is useless.
So how is a Christian to find their way in this life if we are not to do works? If going to bible study, reading my bible and praying and attending church doesn’t lead me to find real life then what does? Jesus hinted at it in Jn. 5:40. We can have the word but if we are to have life we must have the life giver.
God has such a love for us and he wants to find the best way to gain real life. It is important that we define what life is. God’s idea of life is different from ours. Man sees life through carnal eyes so life becomes having things, pursuing pleasures and enjoying what we want. Our life goals are defined by what we see as contributing to fulfilling our desires whether that be experiencing pleasure all the time or being surrounded by the best things or just doing what we want to do. At the center of it all is us and if what we call religion doesn’t contribute to our idea of life we reject it as being false or too fanatical.
The truth is we are not the center of it all. Sure God wants to us to enjoy a life of blessings and joy but the focus is never about what we want. Man is not the center of it all. God is it. He is everything and from Him come all good things (James 1:17, Col. 1:16-17) and He holds it all together.
Jesus came to show the world exactly what this looks like by living not according to what he wanted but according to what God the Father’s will was. It was Jesus’ pleasure to do His Father’s will because he loves the Father. This meant going to the cross and suffering dearly. At Gethsemane Jesus prayed that if another way could be done let it happen but if not let it be the Father’s will (Matt. 26:39). Here we see what it means to live to serve and obey and not just consume. Jesus’ heart focus was on pleasing God by doing His will (Jn. 5:30).
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Jn. 4:34. Note the focus here: Jesus is completely devoted to doing whatever the Father’s asks regardless and this determines his life. Jesus knew he had come to die and that this was the Father’s will for him so he made sure to accomplish it. He didn’t allow other things to distract him and lead to dead ends. In John 6:38 Jesus makes it clear who is making the decisions about what is to happen. He clearly states it is not his will he does but the Father’s. He is denying himself. This is not popular in modern Christianity. People don’t want to have to give up this life even Christians don’t want to give it up. As a result we have watered down the gospel so that anyone can be saved and keep living like a sinner. This is not God’s way; this is a dead end or as it says in Matt. 7:13, it is the broad way filled with all sorts of man’s ideas on how to do God but none of these will save. Why?
If we read further down in Jn. 6:39-40, Jesus explains the Father’s heart: that anyone who really wants to live forever (Jn 17:3), must come to know Jesus personally and believe in Him. Then God promises to raise that person up in the last day. God is not telling us to lose this life because he wants to keep good things from us but the opposite. God knows that if we still love the world we can’t love him and if we don’t love him we can’t follow Him with our hearts. This means in the end we will be lost. God loves us too much not to give us the opportunity to live with Him forever. It takes losing all desire for this world to keep us headed for the better world in Christ. It doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a vacation or a good meal but these things are not who we are and are not important to us. What must be most important is not living for ourselves but living to pleasing God.
Jesus drives the point home of what really has value by saying that even if we have all the world has to offer it matter nothing if we let our souls be loss for eternity. Many a Christian will fail to obey and follow God because they want to live like want to live. We want to watch worldly programs that don’t give God glory and go to worldly places for our enjoyment. This is selfishness even if we try to cover it up with so called goodness. We won’t get the reward God has for us if we aren’t willing to give everything up for Him.
When we surrender all and live for Christ He promises to empower us with His Spirit and guides us, always being with us in intimate fellowship. We can experience His presence daily and walk in His way. Or we can continue to follow ourselves or the world and end up in a dead end. God will never lead you to a dead end but all other ways will always. We need to see what is most valuable to devote ourselves to it. Choose to seek God to know Him. Pray and ask God to reveal more of Himself to you. Repent of any sins you know and if you have been living your own way ask Him to forgive you and be your Lord. He is so eager to do so and will love all over you. Giving up this dying life will not seem so hard after all. Then you can start avoiding life’s dead ends.