Pastor’s Note: I wrote this a few years ago for the local newspaper where we lived in Globe, Arizona. It is worth publishing on this blog as I have updated some of the Scriptures references. All in all, it is pretty much as it was published in the Religious editorial of the newspaper.
“I did it my way!”
So goes the words to the song that Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley helped to popularize. It’s an enjoyable and entertaining song, and yet, as epitomized by their lives it was more than a song. It became their anthem.
If you are a child of God, with Jesus as your Master, that song should remain just what it is; an entertaining and popular song and nothing more. Yet, as you look around today, you can still see that philosophy at work, and not just in secular worldly circles.
I’m a preacher and a student of human behavior and so I learn by observation as well as experience; with that in mind I will give you an example of what I’m talking about from past experience. Some time ago (in fact years, now) I had an opportunity to pray with some other Christians concerning the possibility of starting an organization that would benefit the community. We prayed quite fervently and sought the Lord for direction and vision and the Lord blessed the leadership with both; confirmed by everyone else involved in those prayers. The organization was thus established with many apparent and obvious miracles paving the way. The vision was also shared with the community with some accompanying promises to garner their support. As we progressed though, as is common in anything that involves the natural order of things, the turmoil and trials of running this large organization changed the very character of the organization into something totally different than the vision that was confirmed to be of the Lord. Many people in the community saw the difference and remembered the promises, and many people, including those that had initially prayed were clearly disheartened, including myself.
What had happened was that God had set a precedent, a goal for what He wanted to accomplish in the initial vision. But as soon as the trials and problems started, instead of leaders hitting their knees and asking the Lord’s advice and direction, the supposed wisdom of man stepped up and said, “Thanks, Lord, I’ll take it from here.” They made that song, “I did it my way” their anthem without even realizing it.
Today that organization is still striving, but that is the point, it is striving, NOT thriving and thus it isn’t what it could be or what it should’ve been. The Lord has told some of us to just stand back and watch. I have learned through life and history that sometimes we learn not just by seeing things done properly, but also by seeing how things are not meant to be done. In a Christian’s life, the end(s) should NEVER justify the means, especially if Christ is truly Lord. Every step we take toward God’s will and goals for our lives, are ordered by Him. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.” – Psalm 37:23.
The word ‘order’ in the original Hebrew, means to prepare, establish, to make right. In other words, God establishes or prepares every one of our steps. But look at what it goes on to say, “and He (God) delights in his (man’s) way.” The Hebrew for the word ‘delights’ means, to be pleased, to have favor. When a child of the Most High God follows the steps prepared and established for him by God, the Lord is pleased and has favor with that person. Now I learned years ago in English classes in school, that for every positive statement, you can infer the negative of that statement, and vice-versa. In other words, you can infer that Scripture to say, “if a man does not walk in the steps prepared or established by God, God is not pleased or does not favor that man.” It all boils down to this; if Jesus IS Lord and Master, He is only that if we submit our will totally to Him. He is no longer Master if our will takes precedence over His.
One of the most beloved and well-known passages of scripture is found in Matthew 6:9-13, otherwise known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Almost every Christian recognizes this passage as the perfect pattern for prayer, and one area that Jesus commands and teaches us to pray is stated in verse 10, “Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”
Jesus tells all of His disciples, past, present, and future that this is how we should pray, and this is what we should strive for. As Christians, if we have an anthem describing our life, and especially that of a Christ-like disciple, let it be this passage of “The Lord’s Prayer” in conjunction with Psalm 37:23.
True success is not achieved by allowing the end(s) to be attained or justified by just any means, but rather it is attained by following the Lord’s perfectly prepared and established steps, thus reaching the goal He has destined for us and therefore having His favor manifested in our lives. To do anything else would be contrary to what the writer of Proverbs states when he wrote, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;” – Proverbs 3:5. There is promise in following that Scripture as the writer states in the rest of those verses: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.” – Proverbs 3:6-8. Sadly for some, it is way to easy to trust in their own wisdom. That always leads pitfalls in the world that could have been avoided. Looking back over the years, the truth of NOT trusting in the Lord has proven that to sadly be the case. The community was at a greater loss for that.
In the classic film, “The Wizard of Oz”, Dorothy was told to follow the yellow brick road in order to reach her target destination. In the Bible, we are told to follow the God established road to our God ordained destination. We don’t see this road with our natural eyes but rather with our spiritual eyes. What, you may ask, comprises our spiritual eyes? Two things; Faith and the Word of God! Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And the Psalmist stated this, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105.
We walk this ordained road by faith and in the knowledge of God’s Word, knowing that God has prepared each and every step, knowing that to do so is for our best as well as for the best of those to whom we may have some influence and especially concerning serving the needs of others. God, our Heavenly Father, will NEVER lead us wrong. I have in my life, determined to follow His paths, wherever He leads and I pray that your choice is the same. While I do that, I will continue to enjoy the song “My Way” as just that, a nice, entertaining song.