In the north Georgia town in which I was born, one of the main thoroughfares was known as Atlanta Highway. As a matter of fact, we lived within a stone's throw of that busy road.
When we went to visit my aunt who lived about 50 miles away, I discovered something that was rather surprising and confusing to a small child. Her town also had an Atlanta Highway.
Then when we moved to another area considered to be a suburb of the state capital, I soon found that it had an Atlanta Road.
As I got older, I realized that many of the communities in north and central Georgia had some highway or road with Atlanta in its name. Such a designation usually indicated that if you followed that particular thoroughfare, it would eventually take you to its namesake.
After all, Atlanta was the big city. It was the desired destination for many travelers. And there were many different roads which led people to it.
An even bigger destination in life is a right relationship with God, fellowship with Him, and the ultimate expression of it in a place called heaven.
There are those who like to believe that there are many roads which would take us to this desired destination. However, Jesus made a claim which dispels such a notion. He clearly proclaimed "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
Jesus didn't just show us the way -- He is the way. Jesus declared Himself to be the only road that leads to God and the only Highway to Heaven.
Many people don't want to accept Jesus' statement. They either see all roads as leading to the one main destination or they believe there are alternate ways to get there.
For example, some believe the road of sincerity is sufficient. This is the idea that as long as you sincerely believe whatever you happen to believe, you'll end up in the right place. I wouldn't suggest you try that method the next time you take a trip in your car. You can be sincerely wrong and get sincerely lost.
Others believe the road of religion will get you to God and heaven. Some might even suggest that it doesn't matter which religion, as long as you seek God in some way.
However, the Bible reveals that there is true religion and false religion. It also shows that people can be extremely religious, yet be lacking a real relationship with God.
Some think the road of doing good is the way to get to heaven. Unfortunately, this road is full of people getting the proverbial cart before the horse. If we get on the right road through Jesus, it will lead to us doing good. But doing good by itself doesn't bring us to God or to heaven.
There are countless other roads people follow trying to get to God. These other roads aren't necessarily bad roads on which to travel. They can lead to morality, good citizenship, humanitarianism, and other such qualities.
But the only road that's going to usher us into close fellowship with God and ultimately to heaven is Jesus. It's only through faith in Him and entering into a loving relationship with Him that we can find the glorious destination we're seeking.
Many roads will get you into Atlanta. But only one way will take you to God and heaven. Some of us need to get off Sincerity Street, Do-Good Drive, and Religion Road and start following Jesus instead.
The Rev. Tony W. Elder can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.