Where are you going in life?
Perhaps a better question might be this: who are you following in life?
Every person is following someone in life and who you follow determines the direction of your life. You might be spiritually following the advice of a religious leader or a prominent person in American culture.
For example, last fall Oprah Winfrey published a book on spirituality. Her book gives religious advice on how to live your life; in other words, she gives you a spiritual path to follow as you seek meaning and fulfillment in life.
Oprah writes, "I believe your true purpose on Earth is to align youself with the great spiritual force, your divine inner compass, already at work in your life."
She adds, "Your real purpose on Earth is to become more of who you really are - to live to the highest degree what is pure, what is honest, what is natural, what feels like the real you...Follow your instincts. That's where true wisdom unfolds."
According to Oprah, the path of true spirituality means following your own desires and instincts. For her, finding meaning and purpose in life means looking inward, towards you own "inner compass."
The words of Jesus Christ on spirituality are markedly different. "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14.27). The Lord Jesus Christ says that the search for spiritual meaning does not come from looking inward, but from looking to him. Bearing your own cross does not mean you have to die on a wooden cross like Christ or that you have to carry a heavy burden through life.
Rather, taking up your cross means dying to yourself and your selfish desires (instincts) so that you can follow Jesus Christ and live for him. The cross was a means of death and Christ asserts that you have to die to your selfish pursuits and so that you can find life in him.
The path of dying to self and following Jesus Christ is called discipleship. As you begin 2018, which path are you following? Are you following a path of your own desires and instincts? Or are you on a journey following the crucified and risen Son of God?
According to Scripture, following the advice of someone such as Oprah will lead you to the gates of hell. It will lead you there because it means you reject the Triune God. However, following Jesus Christ means you are following the narrow road that leads to eternal life. Jesus Christ promises, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14.6).