Commentary: Jesus is our way and our way marker


I recently made a wallpaper image for my phone, computer and external monitor. It reads: “Jesus is Lord. I am not.”

I’m not bragging or super spiritual. I’m confessing. I need help focusing on the most important thing. I need a way marker.

A way marker—not “Way Maker” by Nigerian gospel songwriter Sinach—is some type of visual indicator of the correct trail. Way markers can be as obvious as a post with one or more signs attached to it or as subtle as a branch or stone placed across a false or dangerous trail.

Way markers are important, no matter what is used, and every experienced hiker knows to look for them. They not only mean the difference between getting lost and arriving at one’s destination. They also can mean the difference between life and death.

I look at screens most hours of most days. Screens are terribly distracting for most of us. They captivate our eyes and attention.

Even when everything on our screens is about Jesus, the Bible and/or ministry, the myriad icons, notifications, emails, texts, dings and buzzes pull our minds in a hundred different directions at once. Each one may, and often does, point away from the most important thing.

Often, the most sinister distractions have the right substance pointing in the wrong direction.

A false trail may be safe, it may be easy, it may get you close to where you want to go, but it’s still a false trail.

Speaking of false trails …

So, I look at screens most hours of most days, and because screens are so distracting, I fight to stay focused most hours of most days.

My previous wallpaper setting didn’t help. The image changed and moved periodically. That’s distracting. Pretty, maybe, but distracting.

The image I created is static and muted. It doesn’t change, doesn’t move and doesn’t overtly grab my attention. It’s in the background, but I see it all the time: “Jesus is Lord. I am not.”

The words are true. May the image itself not be or become a false trail.

“There is a way that seems right to a person, but in the end leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).

I’ve heard this proverb quoted many times over the last few years, usually in reference to social issues. Because we generally believe we’re right, we generally apply the proverb to others. We rarely think the proverb applies to us. Even if we know we are lost, not many of us like to admit it.

Maybe you don’t get distracted by and lost in screens. But maybe material possessions, work, worry, politics, pride, arrogance, power or fear lure you away. Maybe one or more of those things are a false trail for you. And maybe the substance seems right or is right, but the marker is pointing in the wrong direction.

Maybe, like me, you need a way marker to keep you focused on the right path.

Jesus is our way and our way marker. Keeping our attention on him can keep us from getting lost. When we are lost, looking for him can get us back on the right trail again.

This is no Sunday school answer.

This is no Sunday school answer because Jesus leads us into and through the stuff of this life in this world—so much of it moving away from and even against him. Even so, he calls many of us into the nitty gritty, down and dirty, not away from it.

He calls all of us to be a present, physical witness for him in business, education, government, community service or elsewhere. For this call, knowing Jesus is the way and the way marker is imperative.

It is imperative we remember it is Jesus who called us, not the paycheck or the position. Jesus called us, not anyone else’s or our own expectations, nor our designs or desires.

When so many make designs for us, we must know whose agenda to follow, whose voice to listen for, whose orders to obey.

When so many make claims on our resources, we must know to whom our resources belong.

When so many make predictions about this world and our future in it, we must know who holds it all.

When the warp and woof of this world bends even the most benign things to its ends, we must know Jesus is our way and our way marker.

There will come a point in each of our lives when we will ask ourselves if we followed the right trail. Some will literally ask that question when the terrain is unfamiliar. A panicky cold sweat may set in because even the thought of being lost in the wilderness inspires an appropriate fear.

But I’m talking about reaching a certain age, the age when one looks around and asks: “Does any of this matter? Did I waste my time? Is it too late?”

Are you at that age? Have you asked those questions? Do you wonder if you’re on the right trail?

Look for the Way Marker. In my experience and the experience of many others, he will be there and will point you in the way you should go.


Eric Black is the executive director, publisher and editor of the Baptist Standard. He can be reached at