Most children look forward to the day when they become adults. They do not do so because they are anxious to take on the responsibilities of adulthood, such as going to work every day, paying taxes, and taking care of a family. Instead, they anticipate this stage in life because they believe that when they become adults they will be able to do whatever they please.
Wanting to have one’s own way about things is a natural part of human nature. Very few of us are so compliant and amiable that we are content to let others always have their way about things. No matter how kind-hearted one may be, we will all at some point insist on our preference being met. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, so long as the choices under consideration are not illegal, immoral, or in any other way contrary to God’s will.
This makes sense, of course, but it is where we so often fail. We have been created by God with the ability to make choices in life. From the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been free to choose to do things God’s way or their own way. Most of the time, people have chosen their own way and the results have been disastrous. This is one reason why the scriptures call on us to let God have His way in our lives.
The wise man Solomon put it very simply. In Prov. 14:12 he said, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” He was so convinced of this truth that he repeated it in Prov. 16:25. Even though he did not always follow his own advice, Solomon knew that when humans have their own way about the direction of their lives they will go astray from God’s will.
Jeremiah the prophet was another who spoke plainly about the futility of humans guiding their own steps. In Jer. 10:23 he said, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself. Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.” Jeremiah saw this truth played out before his very eyes. He admonished the leaders of Judah to repent of their evil ways and return to the Lord, but to no effect. They walked in their own way and God brought His wrath down upon them in the form of the Babylonian captivity.
The futility of his efforts is summarized by the call of the Lord that Judah rejected. In Jer. 6:16 the scripture says, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk in it.”‘” Even though God spoke directly to them through His prophet, the people of Judah refused to let Him have His way. They suffered terribly for it during the siege of Jerusalem, and then for seventy years of exile in Babylon.
Many years before the time of Jeremiah, King David recognized the value of letting God have His way in his life. In Psa. 25:10 David said, “All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” This is a timeless truth that is as pertinent today as it was a thousand years before the birth of our Lord. The Lord underscored this truth in His condemnation of the religious leaders of His day. In Mt. 15:14 the Lord called them blind guides and said that they, and those who followed them, would fall into a pit.
This being true, perhaps we can see the wisdom of the words of the great old hymn that says, “His love can fill your soul, and you will see ’twas best for Him to have His way with thee.” May this always be so in our lives.