I think most teachers have experienced a situation when a student complained that they didn’t know how to do the work. It might be taking the proper steps to solve a math equation, following the procedures in a science lab, doing a project that requires different steps in any subject, or anything that isn’t simple and intuitive. So, the teacher takes the time to explain step by step what to do and how to do it. They show examples. They even do a small part with the student so that they can get the hang of the process. Then, the work is turned in and nothing is right. When asked, the student replies, “Your way was too hard, I did it my way.”
“I did it my way.” It’s not only a song that represents the way most Americans want to live, it was a way of life for ancient Israel/Judah. Time and time again God sent prophets to teach the people His way when they had gone off on their own. When the people repented and did things God’s way, life got better. When they rebelled, things got worse. As things got worse, God continued to draw the people back until they broke the connection with their rebellion. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, “We will not walk in it.”’” (Jeremiah 6:16)
As God spoke through Jeremiah He pleaded with the people of Judah to look back on the days gone by. If you want to be pragmatic about things, just ask, “What worked in the past?” But Judah refused to be pragmatic. The people of Judah sought success. They wanted financial success. They wanted political success. They were willing to fight and die for both. Yet their fighting and dying was and would be to no avail because they achieved nothing but failure. Yet God still offered them His love and grace. He still offered to let them learn from the past. They continued to reject Him. They continued to want to do it their way.
As followers of Christ we are to seek God’s will daily, continuously. So many of us have a problem with that. It seems as if we seek God’s will only to consider whether or not we will follow Him. How many times have I gotten leadership from God and replied like my students, “Your way is too hard, I did it my way?” God calls us; He woos us to walk in His way. He doesn’t do that to spoil our fun or to make life hard. He does that because He knows how hard life is and He wants us to walk with Him each step of the way. We may not have financial success (sorry health and wealthers); we may not have political success. Too many followers of Christ are persecuted for their faith in other countries to believe that. What He promises is to be with us always. That alone makes walking in His way worth it.
Oh Lord, Your way is so hard – there is no doubt about that. You call us to obedience and disobedience not only seems easier, it seems like a lot more fun. Yet, when we do things our way and get into all kinds of difficulties, You call us back, You give us grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and You continue to love us. Let my life reflect Your love to others. Help me to be obedient to Your ways no matter how hard that seems because doing it my way is even harder in the long run.