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Following directions

Several years ago I read a story about a Little League baseball team made up of 6- and 7-year-olds who were learning how to play the game.

Like most of us, those children would have most likely rather just played the game than to learn the proper way to play.

One player thinks he has found a better way to play the game. This little guy stands at the plate and manages to get the bat to hit the ball. Immediately he jumps on home plate and yells “Home run! Home run!”

Meanwhile the fielder throws the ball to first base and the umpire calls the player out. The little guy bravely stands up to the umpire and says, “I’m not out. I got on home base before they did. I got a home run.”

The umpire says, “I’m sorry slugger, but you have to run all the bases to get a home run. The rules say ‘you’re out.’”

“That’s what they told me,” the player responds, “but I decided it’s too hard that way. My way I get a home run every time and never get out!”

Unfortunately, every generation of Little Leaguers must learn to play the game by the rules. Now, if that’s how it works in baseball, what makes us think it would be any different making our way to our eternal home in heaven?

Just like baseball players must run the bases to get home, God has established a specific path we all must follow.

God has set the course we must follow. Like baseball, if we decide to try to go our own way and not follow the path God has set for us, then when we arrive we will find ourselves being called “Out.”

Does this seem unfair to you?

More and more people today – even many who consider themselves Christians – believe there are many roads that lead to God.

Today, many people believe that as long as you are sincere in what you believe and do your best to be a good moral person, God will accept you in the end.

Let’s look at God’s rule book – the Bible – and see what Jesus said about making our way safely to heaven.

In John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (NIV)

What Jesus told his disciples happened just like Jesus said it would.

Jesus’ word is established as trustworthy; Jesus did not lie or speak in error. If Jesus had misspoken in foretelling what was going to happen, then nothing He said would hold any value. However, Jesus word carries authority because He didn’t make a mistake in what He said; He spoke nothing in error.

Jesus is the way. Don’t look for another path. All other roads are leading in the wrong direction; there is only one way.

Jesus is the truth. The truth does not waiver or change; it remains the same. Because Jesus is the truth we have a light for the journey. We can see clearly to follow the road without fear of going the wrong way. The truth leads us to where we want to go.

Jesus is the life. We cannot follow Jesus in our own strength; nothing we can do in and of ourselves can bring us into God’s presence. Jesus gives us the life by providing us with all the strength we need to reach our destination.

The way is illuminated by the truth and energized by the life. If we commit to follow Christ, we can be certain He will bring us into the presence of the Father.

Eric Hopkins is the minister of Growing Branches for Christ Ministries and wrote this article as a member of the Fayette County Ministerial Association.