Looking back at some of the history of modern popular music, there is one song that stands out above others. At least in one respect. Especially the words. As I recall the full title is “I Did I My Way”. In some respects, there is and has not been a more descriptive five word description of American (and other) societies. From the American founding fathers until now, doing it “my way” has been the way, or at least largely so. The phrase implies freedom, under law, that few others in the world have ever experienced. It is the mercy and benevolence of God that has blessed America with so much freedom.
“My way” has become almost synonymous with “freedom”. Everyone has the right to do it his or her way. Those who seem to have had the most success at doing their way (it does not seem to always mean money as the measure of their success) are celebrated for such when they die. Their funeral theme is often called a celebration - of their lives, for having lived it their way.
They were successful because they lived their lives their way…whatever they did was successful simply because they did it their way. That was their success.
A couple were playing golf on a beautiful green in Southern California. It was quiet and serene as one prepared to swing. Slowly they began to hear hissing a sound that grew steadily into a deepening roar. So much so, that the one could not concentrate on the shot. The roar became almost deafening until finally a jet airplane passed over them at a very low altitude. The sound lingered until finally dying out as the plane disappeared. One of the players, rather upset with his destroyed concentration remarked how rude and inconsiderate the pilot had been to buzz the golf course - and directly over them, at that. At this point, the other player simply responded with, “ that’s freedom…”. On hearing this story, I recalled the statement of someone who stated that freedom does not imply the freedom to cry “fire!” in a crowded theatre - whether there it is a fire or not.
When we think about it, the idea of doing things our way lines up very comfortably with the whole world. Everyone in the world wants to do it “my way”. That adds up to approximately six billion ways. It is almost inconceivable, but all six billion probably feel that their way is the right way, whether they have the freedom to do it their way or not. Their way just feels comfortable. It just seems right (Proverbs 16:25). Then they realize their way clashes with the “my way” of others, and visa versa. Then those who have similar my ways of others get together, on the basis of those perceived similarities. Now we have a group. Then groups get together with other groups with similar my ways. Before long there is a village, a province or a city, and the a country. This is what happened after the flood (Genesis 11:1-9). When enough people can find enough similarities of ways, they tend to band together. Down through the ages since Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden of Eden, this has been seen by mankind as a solution to every problem.
But providentially, each new agreement to combine all the “my way” mind sets begins to unravel. There are disagreements. Why? Because each one inevitably reverts back to the natural mind set of their fallen nature - “my way”.
Finally, God called an expanded family out of slavery in Egypt. This family called Israel, the decedents of Abraham, Isaac, and the twelve children of Jacob (God changed his name to Israel - Genesis 32:22-28)). This family had been enslaved and thereby humbled to the point of willingness to accept a new way. They were now willing to forsake - at least for the crisis of that time - their way. God through Moses, who also was forced to forsake his “my way”, led Israel by a series of miracles out and across the desolate wildernesses toward a land of plenty. On Mount Sinai, God asked them to give up all their individual “my” ways. He asked them to accept only one way - the God Way.
All of this history, and more before and since points up us today to one simple but overwhelming truth. The “my way” life principle does not work. It must be given up. Which is the same as saying I must give up. Because all that in us naturally screams - like the jet plane over our heads - for our way.. But it is not freedom. It is actually bondage - it is slavery of a most subtle but insidious kind because our way is us. If we would be truly free, we must face our ultimate enemy. We must finally comes to grips with who our enemy really. As the expression goes, “we have met the enemy - and he is us”…
God through Jesus Christ longs to save us form ourselves - from continuing to “do it my way”. If you are determined to do it your way, you will die with no hope. All you will have will be those attending a last celebration of one who “did it my way”, when you could have had everything for eternity.
A dear friend and brother in Christ undertook a project. He is a talented singer. Upon hearing the lyrics to “I Did It My Way”, he rewrote the lyrics, and changed the title. He called it: “I Did It God’s Way”.
Are you? Will you?
“Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me. In My Father's house there are many dwelling places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when (if) I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way. Thomas said to Him, Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.” - John 14:1-6 (AB)
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