Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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"I am the way, the truth, and the life;
no man comes to the Father, but by me."
Jesus, in John 14:6
I used to picture the way of holiness as a road laid out, a road that even Jesus walked on as he traveled with us on our way home to God. A few weeks ago, however, a new vision of the way of holiness was given to me. The road that stretched out ahead of Jesus as he led us was not there. All I saw was Jesus, creating new paths for our feet every day. I could not see, as before, a long, narrow road laid out ahead of Jesus as he led us along the way. I only saw Jesus in front of me. There may have been thick, tangled, briary undergrowth before him, but whenever he took a step, all that vanished, and the way was safe and clear. All I had to do was follow him, no matter what direction he took, and I would see God. I knew that he knew the way and that without him, I was surrounded and lost.
Now, it is no longer as if I can see beyond Jesus. I see no road stretching far into the horizon ahead of him. I can only see him, and I know that as long as he is leading, I am safe. None of us can see beyond Jesus, can we? Yes, we may imagine that we can see a road beyond him, but that road exists only in our imaginations. Jesus is the way; he is not on the way. He determines our path daily, and the path we walk is the path of his will, which is the perfect reflection of the will of the Father.
Jesus is as far as any of us can really see, and Jesus is as far as any one of us will ever need to see. One of the principle ways that God's children are deceived by Satan to take our eyes off Jesus is by persuading us that we can see ahead of our Lord, that we know where he is going and how he is going to take us there. But who has such wisdom but God the Father? Jesus has ways to teach us that we do not yet know, and only those who do not take their eyes off him will turn when he turns or pause when he pauses.
Are you listening for the voice of your Shepherd now – today – this moment? If not, then in your heart you have taken your eyes off him, imagining that you see a long road ahead to walk on. But it isn't really there. Jesus is the road. To be "led by the Spirit" means simply to follow Jesus; it means to see Jesus, to hear Jesus, and to trust Jesus moment-by-moment as your only way to God.
The road that we see ahead of Jesus is actually our own will, or Satan's; it is not the will of God. That road is what we think will be, or what we have planned, or what we believe must be. That road is not of God and will not lead to God. Everyone who is following a road that they see lying ahead of Jesus is in a cult. They have hewed out a path in their own mind that even Jesus has to follow, or they think it is not Jesus. And they cannot deviate from that path even if Jesus goes another way. They may say that Jesus is leading them down that road; it is a false claim. Jesus does not lead us down any road that is already laid. He is the road, and every step he takes is a new creation. Every breath he breathes is new life for us, full of feelings and hope; every thought he thinks is new wisdom and understanding for us. We live by him, just as he lives by the Father (Jn. 6:57); there is nothing already there for him; he is life itself (1Cor. 15:45).
Resist the temptation to imagine that you see ahead of your Lord. You do not, and you cannot. Jesus himself is the way, and the best that any of us can do is to keep our eyes on him.
What is Jesus leading you to do at this moment? Whatever it is, it is your only way to eternal life, and you will never see the face of God without it.