Jesus declared, “I am the way… no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There is but One Way, yet, within that way is a path that connects especially with the way God created you. Jesus also said, “I call them by name” (John 10:3). He knows you. He created you. He calls you to Himself. Your intimate and personal relationship with Jesus, The Way, is characterized by the uniqueness of the way Jesus calls you to Himself. Let me suggest that there are four paths of experiencing the presence of Christ, the One True Way. You are a unique combination of these:
1-The Path of Restoration – The image is of repairing and filling the storeroom. This is a path of order, clear answers, and meaningful routines. Some of the images of this path are found in I Peter 2:5-10; a spiritual house, sanctuary, priesthood, sacrifice, chosen people:
“As you come to him, the living stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…but you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God: once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
The characteristics of this path into the presence of Christ may especially fit you and your unique spiritual nature:
• A focus on Scripture.• A routine or ritual.• A search for doctrine or teaching.• An emphasis on knowledge, order and grace.• Understanding God’s Word rightly.• Prayer for knowledge and guidance.• A planned, ordered time with a clear beginning and end.
This path is best seen in the Gospel of Matthew.
2-The Path of Revival – The image is that of new life. This is a path of purpose, courage, clarity, and determination. The images of this path include hiding in the cleft of the rock and living under the shade of God’s protection. A verse that captures this path is Romans 8: 10-11:
“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through the spirit, who lives in you.”
You may find that the characteristics of this path of intimacy in Christ are more suited to you:
• To see God’s plan for me in His world.• To restate my inner convictions.• To revive obedience to God’s will for me.• Action, self-discipline, and sacrifice.• The word of God that moves toward action.• Prayer is doing and being.• Devotions prepare us for God’s work.• The goal is to accomplish His purpose.
This path is best seen in the Gospel of Mark.
3-The Path of Returning – The image is coming back home, back to the source. This is a path of fellowship, stories, testimony, and personal service. The images of this path include the believer, the follower, home, and sharing a meal together. The essence of this path is seen in 1 John 1:3-4,
“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”
Look over this list and see if some of the characteristics of this path of intimacy with Christ are best for you:
• To feel that God is real and in my heart.• Songs and readings that engage my emotions as well as my mind.• An inward experience of God.• Love, testimony and spontaneity.• The Bible moves me and changes me.• I pray for God to lead me into His fellowship and service.• My quiet time is spontaneous and moving, as I feel led.
This path is best expressed in the Gospel of Luke.
4-The Path of Renewal – The image is to become new again. This is a path of mystery, wonder, questioning, and reflection. Pictures in Romans 12:1-2 are characteristic of this path, view God’s mercy, offer yourself, spiritual act of worship, not the pattern of the world, the renewing of the mind,
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
There are also characteristics of entering the presence of Christ that are unique to this path and may be especially suited to you:
• Entering Mystery• Becoming present to God• Inward openness to the Spirit• Humility, letting go, and transcendence• The Spirit speaking the Word of God inwardly.• Prayer is being in His presence.• Don’t measure time, but depth of meaning.
This path is best seen in the Gospel of John.
Each path is true and good. Jesus, the Way, will meet you in the uniqueness of your own soul. The purpose of intimacy in Christ is the same for all: Hear, Trust, and Follow Jesus.
Copyright © Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.