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  • Brett Parks

"My Way or the Highway"




Possibly one of my favorite musical artists is none other than Mr. Frank Sinatra. I’m hoping that some #Angels in #Heaven have voices like Sinatra, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke to tickle my eardrums for a little over #Eternity. A #FrankSinatra’s song is titled “My Way” and was written by Claude Francois, Gilles Thibaut, Jacques Revaux and Paul Anka and basically is a song about one’s life and looking back at their journey through it. Or, as #GQ magazine’s Scott Meslow wrote in one of his articles,

“It’s a song that celebrates being a douchebag.”

Whether you agree with Mr. Meslow or not, “My Way” is an iconic song that stands the test of time in the musical world.

When you break down the lyrics, verse by verse, it’s kind of a sad song, not to the man who is living in the “Spirit of the World”, but to a person who is living for what takes place after we leave this world. The last verse is the one that I want to focus on currently. The verse is written as states:

“For what is a man what has he got

If not himself then he has not

To say the things he truly feels

And not the words of one who kneels

The record shows I took the blows

And did it my way.”

I’m not suggesting Mr. Sinatra lived by these words even though his life seems to reflect what these lyrics show with multiple divorces, alcohol dependency, troubled homelife with his children, etc.. Sinatra is the type of person that many of us are in this fallen world. We want things our way and rebuke those who disagree even if they are correct in their assessment. There is no better example than what goes on everyday on #SocialMedia.

When we “argue” within the confines of an electronic device, we are far less likely to see the person on the other side of the conversation. We tend to only see a computer screen. Seeing only a screen and NOT a human on the other side takes away #Humanity which then takes away the inability to look for real change within our psyche and to only “win an argument”. This is just another form of doing it “My Way”. It is damaging, not only to our individual human progress, but also our spiritual walk.

Nothing proves that “My Way” is not the REAL way than in the time Jesus walked the earth. When #Jesus came down to earth, He knew all too well what the mentality of men entailed. He knew the hearts of men were self-loving, selfish, and self-righteous. Those three descriptions of a man are enough to make the strongest of men crumble into oblivion. Due to #Greek culture influence in the time of Jesus, there was not only political and socio-economic life, but also #Religious influence. Rome consisted on many religions and had gods like #Apollo, #Jupiter, #Mars, #Quirinus and the list goes on. In this type of #Pantheistic culture, you could just make up a god and people would accept it as to not step on any proverbial toes (they wore sandals, that would hurt). The #Jewish people even had different sects that categorized them during and early after Jesus’ death. These sects (or groups) where the #Pharisees, #Sadducees, #Essenees, #Zelots and the #JesusMovement. Each group had their differences, but they all were united by certain “basic beliefs”.

The #JudeoChristian #God was not a pantheistic God. As a matter of fact, He hated it so much that His very FIRST #Commandment to the #Jews is that they should “have no other gods before Me” (And now pertains to us today)[Exodus 20:2-17].

Although Jesus never actually said,

“I am God”

He DID say it through other comments and action numerous times. The CompellingTruth.org writes it perfectly when it says:

The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus claimed to be God. The Bible also affirms the deity of Christ. This is evident in a variety of ways. First, Jesus claimed to be equal with God. He could forgive sin, something only God could do (Mark 2:5). Jesus claimed power to raise the dead (John 5:25-29). He claimed to be honored as God (John 5:18, 23) as well as to be equal with the Father (John 10:30).

Second, Jesus claimed to be the great "I Am." John 8:58 states, "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'" This "I Am" reference is made in connection with Exodus 3:14 where God revealed His name to Moses as "I Am." Jesus' statement, then, is a biblical claim for the deity of Christ.

There was no doubt that Jesus claimed He was God. This is the main reason the Jews wanted Him dead. Jesus was committing #Blasphemy in the Jewish people’s eyes which, in their eyes, was justifiable to #Crucify Him.

This article is called “My Way or the Highway” for a specific reason. Jesus claimed numerous times that you cannot get to God without going directly through Him (Jesus). In #John 14:6. Jesus says,

“I am the Way, the truth and the life. No one gets to the Father except through me.”

He did not say, “I’m one of the many roads you can take to get to #Heaven.” or “Believe in me, but you can also believe in something else if it’s easier to get through the day.”

Not at all! He said I am THE WAY…NO One gets to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME. In modern day language, Jesus is saying,

“Its MY way or the highway”

This is a great phrase which is relevant to one of Jesus’ illustrations about the wide and narrow gate.

#Matthew 7:13, Jesus says:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

The way to Heaven is not an easy road. In fact, its quite difficult. Not because we must “Earn” our way to the #Kingdom, but because of all the distractions and sin that is to the left and right of us. The whole world is on the wide road with a wide gate (much like a highway). They are doing their own thing and feeling good about themselves (if only temporarily). They are going with the mob. They don’t want to make waves for the fear of being rejected by this “tolerant” society. This mentality isn’t just national, but global. We, as #Christians, need to know that we are not called to be “liked”. Jesus tells us this clearly in #Luke 9:23 when He says,

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

In this moment in history, being #Crucified was the worst method of killing that was ever known. The Latin words for Crucifixion are Ex Cruciatus or out of the #Cross. Crucifixion was the very word for pain. It was such a grievous punishment that it was against the law to crucify a Roman citizen (although exceptions were made). Jesus was telling His disciples (and now us through the #Bible) that if you are going to choose to live for #Christ, you are going to have a tough time, maybe even jailed or killed because of how hostile this word can be. Our road is narrow and very few go through it. But, this life is over in a blink of an eye and during this “blip” on our journey to #Eternity, we can choose to serve #TheLord and be in potential danger and being ostracized by friends and/or family but end up living in eternal joy and euphoria with our #Creator, or we can do things our way and spend eternity separated from God and joy’s of all kinds.

When Jesus walked among us there were many different Gods and sects in and around Rome, but He only looked at this world as having just TWO religions:

1) Followers of Him

2) All other religions

He loved the Jewish people and God promised them that He would protect them and they will have a king to lead them to paradise. This is why the #SonOfGod was prophesied in the #OldTestament (or Tanakh). #Isaiah 53 is the most explicit description of Jesus’ coming and saving His people:

Who has believed our message

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,

a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain

and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was punished.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

After he has suffered,

he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

When we look at every other religions, we should be sensitive to their feelings but also understand that, unless they turn their life over to Jesus by #Believing, #Repenting and #Confessing that Jesus is Lord in Heaven (Romans 10:9), there is no other way they will enter Heaven. It’s either “My(Jesus’) way or The Highway(every other religion)”. I wish it wasn’t like that and everyone could get to Heaven doing whatever they choose, but, if we are #Bible believing Christians, we cannot follow the commands that come easiest to us and leave the tougher ones in the cart. If we believe it, we MUST follow it. I believe this is the problem with many unbelievers as well. If they find God’s Word to be true, they would have to lower themselves as their own God-Head and elevate the One True God up to the highest authority commanding them to be #Obedient. Sadly, that’s something that the majority of unbelievers don’t want to do.

Anthony Bourdain hanged himself some years back, he once wrote in one of his pieces that “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”

Mr. Bourdain says to go out and have fun! Do whatever your heart desires. You only go around this sun a few times, make it count! I wonder what he thought the night he hung himself. I wonder if he thought,

“This ride is over. Time to get off.”

The downside to amusement parks is that after a day full of fun, you still must get back to your real life. A rollercoaster is fun and exhilarating and touches all the senses all at once, but our purpose isn’t to ride the rollercoaster forever. Soon, we all must get off. Some voluntarily, others are forced. But there’s so much more when you get down to what is real and important. C.S. Lewis said:

“You don’t HAVE a soul, you ARE a soul. You HAVE a body.”

To go with #AnthonyBourdain’s comparison, our body is this amusement park but our #Souls are what is IN the amusement park. Rides will break, the park will close, but you aren’t confined to the park. You will exit and start your journey home. The question is, which home are you going to? One is a home full of pain, darkness and regret where the other home is one of light, joy and praise. Where you go is entirely up to you. This isn’t a decision your parents chose for you when you were a baby or even that time you went to a church camp and a manipulative youth pastor says to raise your hand if you want Jesus’ love. Its an independent choice and it can only be made by you. Enjoy this ride, but remember, you must go home one day. Ask yourself which home you are headed to. If it’s the wide road, turn around and find the narrow one. Yes, it’s a little more difficult but the reward in the end will be worth it. That’s a promise handed down by our Creator.

Amen

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_ancient_Rome#Roman_deities

http://www.helsinki.fi/teol/pro/_merenlah/oppimateriaalit/text/english/judaism.htm

https://www.compellingtruth.org/Jesus-claim-God-deity-biblical.html

https://nearemmaus.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/thought-from-the-ancient-world-cicero-on-crucifixion/

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/271353-your-body-is-not-a-temple-it-s-an-amusement-park


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