This will qualify as yet another one of my 5 minute posts about a 5 hour (or more) topic, but I just want to record something to remind myself to maybe, if I ever feel inspired, write out a more detailed version of the revelation that I got yesterday. It's funny how this happens, but I was just praying in front of a group of people and somehow I shifted into a teaching mode and I started talking about how different people enter into God's presence in different ways. Basically, what it comes down to is that each person relates to God in a different way. I relate to God by music, by nature (wind, mountains, rain, sunshine, etc), by a variety of different things. That's how God speaks to me, with a set of very specific symbols. You could almost call it a vocabulary of concepts that he brings up or emphasizes differently at different times.
I believe that this vocabulary, this language of how God speaks to a person and how that person speaks to God, is very specific and unique to each individual. Apart from the personal examples I could give, I can also offer this: Rev 21:12: "12It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel."
This is speaking of the gates into the New Jerusalem, which can be taken figuratively for God's presence (not going to elaborate, but I think scripture firmly shows this). There are 12 gates, and each gate has a different name written on it. While I think there are a variety of valid interpretations for this passage (once again, not elaborating), it also shows that there are a large number of ways into the New Jerusalem, and each one has a name written over it. I believe this shows that each person has a unique "gate" into God's presence.
Yes, John 14:6 says that Jesus is the way, so many people say there is "only one way to the Father", which is a pretty reasonable argument from a biblical point of view. This is a good counterpoint for people who would try to take Rev 21:12 too far, which is not my intention. As noted above, when I speak of the "different ways to God" I'm really talking more about the symbolic language and the unique relationship that each person has available to himself or herself, that even though we're all headed to the same God (i.e. New Jerusalem), we each have our own path to walk in life, and that the "gate" open to each one of us is only open to us, and nobody else will ever experience God in the exact same way. I think this is really cool, because in my mind it validates the importance of each individual, which is something that I think God also highly values, that he truly does value each individual for who that individual is and how that individual has been created to relate to God.
And that's the 5 minutes. :) For further reading, look at the verses I quoted and also: Ps 25, Ps 119, Isa 30:21, and many other passages I can't think of off the top of my head.