BY RELEVANT GOD / FAITH June 19, 2002

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” —Jesus

In the times of the early church, believers were referred to as “followers of the way.” Paul testifies in Acts 22 that he persecuted “this way which they call a sect.” Much has been made in Christianity about being a part of the way to the truth, or the true way to salvation, heaven or paradise.

What is this way all about? What does it mean to be a follower of the way?

If Christ is the way we are supposed to follow, then we would do well to listen to these words by Thomas A Kempis in his book Imitation of Christ: “If we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart, let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ.”

Being a follower of the way is not a path to travel, but rather a pattern to follow, an example, if you will.

In order to follow the way we have to be like the way, imitate the way. We need to pay careful attention of the life of the way and let people see that in us. The early Christians were not called Christians because they were pious folk who lived morally superior lives with a condescending attitude toward their fellow man. They were called Christians (Christ-like ones) because they imitated their leader, Christ. They lived lives of compassion, love, humility, patience and virtue.

Many times today, we as Christians say we are followers of “this way.” However, we lack the compassion of Christ. We don’t take on the humility of Christ. We lack the love of Christ to our fellow man.

Being a follower of the way is a lifestyle of love and compassion spurned on by the love and compassion shown to us by our Savior. We can live lives of compassion and love once we dig deeply into the life of Christ and set His truths as our benchmark.

Read the words of the beatitudes and see the ones who truly live the blessed lives. It’s not the one who is the most theologically correct or ardent defender of the faith. No, it is the simple person who shows the love and humility of Christ and hungers to be more like Him.

When the average nonbeliever sees a person who claims to be a Christian, they expect to be exposed to someone who will point out all their faults, but instead we would do much better to follow the way and show them the truth in our love, concern, humility and compassion. Then and only then will they be able to understand what following Christ is all about.

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