“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
At least two full generations of Americans have grown up knowing you can “have it your way” at Burger King™. Clearly there’s nothing evil about extra onions, save perhaps the later necessity for antacids. And why shouldn’t we be the ones in charge of the goods we purchase? Burger King™ is doing their customers a great service in allowing us to “have it our own way”.
Fast-food restaurants are not the only ones striving to convince me that “my way is the best way”. More and more employers are granting their employees “flex schedules” to fit around their busy lifestyles. Universities are offering programs that allow you to take classes when it is convenient for you. Even the major television networks can no longer force you to watch their programing on their timetables! I’ll have it my way because, after all, my way is the best way!
But I’m not so sure it is. In fact, I’d go so far as to say to Burger King™, “You go ahead and fix me my Whopper® whatever way you believe is best; you invented the thing. You sell it to me your way and I’ll eat it! I don’t want it my way.”
You see, if I’m not careful, I might start believing my way is in fact the best way! I may believe I know best simply because I’m me and as me, I have an opinion on the matter, and if you don’t like what I have to say, first of all that’s just too bad and second of all, you are just plain wrong because I get things my way! Before long, I begin believing everything around me has been put here for my pleasure and enjoyment. Thus, if I am not receiving the pleasure I once enjoyed, I am free to discard the item (or person) and move on to something (or someone) else, because, really, when you get down to it, the world revolves around me!
This culture-driven narcissism is bad enough, but truly egregious is this “have it your way” mentality in the Christian Church. If I don’t like the way you lead worship, I’m perfectly happy saying goodbye. If we can’t agree on the best mission for our congregation, perhaps we can agree to go our separate ways. With tens of thousands of denominations of Christians out there, what have we said of ourselves but that to be a Christian is to disagree to the point of parting company. No need to talk it out. No need to work it out. No need to put the needs of another before my own. Have it your way!
There’s got to be a better way. In fact there is. Jesus Christ said of Himself, “I am the way”.
This Way is humiliating; God of the Universe humbled Himself to become part of His creation. This Way grates against our sensibilities; Jesus said for man it is impossible to be saved, but with God alone are all things possible. This Way challenges popular pluralistic principles; all roads do not in fact lead to salvation. This Way is lonely; He was betrayed and left alone by His closest friends. This Way is misery; He was accosted unjustly, accused falsely, and abused unashamedly. This Way leads up a meandering path to a hilltop of death; He was murdered by the very men He came to save. But this Way is eternal; they killed Him, yet still He lives. This Way leads to life for you as well!
Having it my way leads to selfishness, self-righteousness, and self-justification. God’s Way is better. God’s Way is best! Jesus Christ’s Way is the only one that matters! His Way includes you! Jesus Himself leads the Way!
I don’t want it my way; I want it Jesus’ way!
“Your cross I place before me;
Its saving pow’r restore me,
Sustain me in the test.
It will, when life is ending,
Be guiding and attending
My way to Your eternal rest.”
Upon the Cross Extended (Lutheran Service Book, 453)