What Is the Way of Jesus?
The Way of Jesus is his lifestyle, priorities, habits, and power—all of which he has shared with us. Jesus’s Way is the pattern of discipleship that is aligned with his Kingdom and empowered by his Spirit.
The early church was first known as “The Way.” In Acts, the believers are called “Christians” only once, but “The Way” six times.
How did they come up with this phrase? The early Christians remembered Jesus’s own words:
“I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” John 14:6
But here’s something I want to consider over the next few months. How much are we following Jesus’s Way in our churches?
We proclaim his Truth, we point people to Life, but are we following the Way in which he did ministry?
Eugene Peterson on the Way of Jesus
I have shared these two quotes from the late great Rev. Peterson on Twitter and in a recent sermon, but I want this on the GOOD SOIL record, too.
“The great American innovation in congregation is to turn it into a consumer enterprise… If we have a nation of consumers, obviously the quickest and most effective way to get them into our congregations is to identify what they want and offer it to them, satisfy their fantasies, promise them the moon, recast the gospel in consumer terms: entertainment, satisfaction, excitement, adventure, problem-solving, whatever. This is the language we Americans grow up on, the language we understand. We are the world’s champion consumers, so why shouldn’t we have state-of-the-art consumer churches?”
The Way of Jesus is slow; the ways of the world are hurried.
The Way of Jesus works from the inside out; the ways of the world are mass-produced.
The Way of Jesus requires discomfort and sacrifice; the ways of the world are comfortable because they’re non-demanding—they are professionalized and consumeristic.
Unfortunately, much of the Western evangelical church operates according to the ways of the world. Peterson continues,
“There is only one thing wrong: this is not the way in which God brings us into conformity with the life of Jesus and sets us on the way of Jesus’ salvation. This is not the way in which we become less and he becomes more. This is not the way in which our sacrificed lives become available to others in justice and service. The cultivation of consumer spirituality is the antithesis of a sacrificial, ‘deny yourself’ congregation. A consumer church is an antichrist church.”
Oh snap. Let that marinate a minute.
These are not easy words. But I need to hear them. I think we all do.
We don’t decide how to reach and serve and lead people in the church. We don’t take the Truth and wrap it up and put a shiny bow on it. We don’t offer the Life with slick marketing campaigns and buy-now-pay-later schemes.
The Way of Jesus offers a better vision. And there’s so much freedom here: We can be ourselves. It’s not a performance. In the way of Jesus, we have the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, I’m looking forward to this. There’s a lot of great stuff to get into, and I hope it indeed provides good soil for your growth in Christ.