We don’t like being told what to do. In fact, we despise it. We spend our lives being told, “Just do whatever makes you happy. Find your truth and make sure you live your truth. If we just stay true to ourselves, we will find peace and happiness. Nobody can tell you something different than what you know to be true about yourself. You do you.”
How’s that working for you? Are you happy?
My guess is probably not. We are more depressed and more unhappy than we’ve ever been. I’ve read multiple articles that show how our wealth has increased over the years but our happiness has dropped. How can that be? Isn’t the chase for wealth and the American Dream supposed to solve all our problems? Isn’t chasing my dreams, my comfort, and my well-being supposed to give me peace in life?
Again... How’s that working for you? Are you happy?
Here’s the problem: we worship at the altar of self. We’ve bought into the lie that if we live our truth and do what makes us happy then we will be happy and at peace. Yet so many of us find that we are still restless.
You may have all the money in the world yet still feel poor.
You may be a sexual icon that everyone loves and adores yet still feel ugly.
You may be successful and powerful yet still feel weak.
Why? Because living for yourself has never worked and never will.
When Jesus stepped onto the scene though, He gave us a better way. However, with this better way He made some very exclusive claims that gets in the face of our “You do you” mentality. Things like, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life... Nobody comes to the Father except through Me.”
Let me translate that for you... Sorry god of self. Sorry Allah. Sorry Buddha. Sorry to all you 100s of Hindu gods out there. Sorry god of comfort and god of wealth. Your ways won’t cut it. The only way to see God and be with God is through Jesus. Simply put, Jesus doesn’t leave much room for “All roads lead to God” theology.
It’s a pretty bold claim and it’s a pretty exclusive claim. One that doesn’t sit well with our modern sensibilities because we just want everyone to be happy living their truth. We don’t like thinking that God might punish someone who is a good person but refuses to believe in and follow Jesus. We don’t like thinking that the devout man or woman following another religion will be separated from God. But Jesus is clear — You only come to the Father through me. Not your happiness. Not your wealth. Not your Buddha. Not Mohammed. Only Jesus.
But please recognize, this exclusive claim follows the most inclusive invitation in history. We’ve talked about it a lot in this blog series, but here it is again:
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
We don’t like the exclusive nature of Jesus saying “Nobody comes to the Father except through me.” But we don’t like it because we fail to attach it to this beautiful call for THE WORLD to follow Jesus.
Jesus can make such an EXCLUSIVE STATEMENT because He’s already made an INCLUSIVE INVITATION to the world. Christianity is the most inclusive-exclusive religion. It’s for everyone... Jesus is for everyone. He came to seek and save the lost. Not just the wealthy. Not just the elite. Not just Americans. Not just white people. Not just black people. Jesus came to save everyone!
Jesus offers the most inclusive invitation that offers a life of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment (notice I didn’t say happiness or comfort). But with this invitation comes the exclusive requirement that we believe in and trust that His power and work on the cross is enough to save us.
The god of (FILL IN THE BLANK) must die in your life... And who has the power to overthrow it?