“And it came to pass in our going on to prayer, a certain maid, having a spirit of Python, did meet us, who brought much employment to her masters by soothsaying, she having followed Paul and us, was crying, saying, `These men are servants of the Most High God, who declare to us a way of salvation; and this she was doing for many days, but Paul having been grieved, and having turned, said to the spirit, `I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come forth from her;’ and it came forth the same hour.” Acts 16:16-18 YLT
Luke tells of a demon possessed, fortune-telling slave girl that followed them through Philippi proclaiming their ministry. Paul was disturbed by her presence and through Christ’s name and power, he commands the demon to leave and it does, of course, taking its fortune-telling ability with it.
This spirit of divination was not doing Paul and his companion’s ministry a favor. Philippi was Roman colony and the Philippians worshipped many pagan gods. Adding one more god to the mix isn’t a problem to Satan, but preaching the One True God, THE Way of salvation is and that is exactly what Paul and his team were doing.
As are all of the other problems we see in society and the church today, this, too, is not new. Our enemy will distract us with every way possible. Every way, but THE Way.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth is THE Way, the ONLY way. (John 14:6) There is no other. Not good works, not gimmicks, not formulas, only Jesus–Not any Jesus. Only Jesus Christ of Nazareth, God in the flesh, born of the virgin Mary, died on a Roman cross, risen, and ascended into heaven. That Jesus. The one who never contradicts Himself. The one who never fails. The one who is always with those who choose Him. The one who cleansed the temple with a whip. (Matthew 21:12-13) The one from whom multitudes of people walked away from when He spoke the hard truth. (John 6:66) The one who loved so much without compromise that He not only died, but He suffered tremendous anguish for you, for me, for us all.
Today, like the days of old, there are many presenting to us another Jesus, another way. It grieved Paul and it should grieve us, too. There are gimmicks. There is compromise and the truth is becoming clouded behind religious lingo used in churches and “Biblical” books, behind the other ways that we are being told we can find salvation. But if those ways contradict Jesus of Nazareth, then they are not the way.
We have a better hope than the emptiness of emotional highs we experience in the dark smoke-filled room of a trendy church, the feeling of loneliness in a crowd at religious social gathering, the feeling of despair we feel drowning in our sin that is accepted by the postmodern church telling us so absolutely that there are no absolutes.
But how can we know that hope, if we don’t know—THE HOPE, THE WAY–Jesus Christ, Himself.
It takes a great amount of courage and a great amount of humility to place our broken selves at the feet of THE WAY. Our Triune God will free us, love us and save us, if we want Him. Never will He force our hand. Unlike His adversary who will find every way in to tempt us, lie to us, and deceive us, God, the Father, sent His Son to make the way, and He has sent His Holy Spirit to nudge us, to speak to us, to teach us, to show that there is comfort in The Only Way.
If you have not accepted Him, that is your first step, the necessary step…to acknowledge that He is the Only Way, the truth, the life. Accept Him today. Study the Bible with a pure heart and ask Him to teach you all things through His Word and He will.
If you have accepted Him, but are holding back, still trying to do it your way, still fighting to hold on to those things that are bringing death into your life, stop. Stop today. Don’t wait. Have the courage to fall vulnerable at His feet and die to yourself. Let go of all other ways. Let go of what people say, let go of religious trends, let go of what you want. Let go of your arguments, your justifications. Let go of being satisfied with the struggle of sin and today and everyday, choose Him first, above all else. In THE Way, there is no regret, no fear, just love.
It is free, but it will cost you everything.
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV