By John Grant
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.“” John 14:6
Have you ever stood in a book store and surveyed the number of books that have a number of ways to do most anything? There’s everything from 8 Minute Workouts to 8 Mindful Steps to Happiness to 7 Principles for Making a Marriage and 7 Days to Whiter Teeth. Remember Steven Covey’s -Â Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? He put the words “proactive” and “synergize” on the map.
An edition of U.S. News featured on the front cover “50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2006.” The inclusive list covered everything from flossing your teeth to enjoying a massage to joining a singing group. It seems that everybody writes or reads books that boil anything down to less than ten precise steps to accomplish any goal.
We live in a scientific and technological culture where people believe that every problem can be solved by applied techniques (six steps to a better whatever). How much has this way of viewing life shaped you?
Christian bookstores are not immune this way of thinking. Notice how much it looks like the self-help section of your local secular bookstore. Whether it’s a better marriage or a stronger prayer life, there are numerous books that offer it in six or seven easy steps.
Pastors run to church growth conferences to hear the latest “formula,” in however many steps the speaker may think it takes to grow their church. It all seems so right, so logical so reasonable. The sell books like 5 Good Minutes to Change Your Spiritual life and 100 Morning Practices to Help You Stay Calm and Focused All Day Long.
As Christians, we often think there is some magic formula out there to dramatically change us and make all of our problems go away overnight. Well, it isn’t quite that easy. A lot of self help, spiritual and otherwise are on the shelves of local book stores. Some contain sound advice and some are marginal, if not outright incorrect. Be careful what you load into your brain and be sure you know the core values of the author and don’t believe that a few steps practiced and applied in your life can remake you.
There is only one way and it is a one step process. Jesus said:, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). I suggest that if you really want to change your life this year, commit yourself to follow Him and read His Word every day.
In a world that tells us to conform, Jesus tells us to transform and to present ourselves as a living sacrifice.
So, for us all, may this be the year of transformation, the year of presentation, the year we surrender all we have to the one who holds the keys to joy, peace and contentment. The path to that goal is daily Bible reading, committed worship, not just in church, but in all we do. May this year be the year we renew our pledge to love God more, to seek His face and His plan for our lives more clearly and to draw close to His Word each and every day.
Right now is our most exciting time ever. Last year is history. Next year lies in the future, but this is the only time we will ever have to live right now. So let’s live it to the fullest, changing our lives and changing the lives of others.
Question: What is a goal that you have for the future, and how can your goal be used to honor God?
(a thought on life from John Grant )
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John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney. He is an active writer and frequent speaker.Â He can be reached by e-mail at John.Grant@johngrant.net