I don’t know everything. To those of you who know me, that’s plainly obvious. Usually, though, I know what I want. Once I decide I want something, I can say that I want what I want, and I want it when I want it. Yeah, that’s probably hard to follow. But the bottom line is that, in my mind, most of the time it’s all about me.
Not to drag you into my self-deprecation, but that’s true of all of us. Whether we’re talking about possessions or something new we want to buy, we want what we want. We don’t want someone intruding on that. We want our way.
What happens when that “way” isn’t exactly clear? How do we break through the ambiguity in order to figure out a decision or a choice? Maybe it’s a purchase or spending decision … do I buy this new car or spend some money on new clothes? Do I put money in my savings account or splurge and give myself that vacation I deserve. What college should I attend? Should we buy a house or rent?
Maybe it’s a personal issue I’m working through … Is this person I’m dating the “one?” Should I try to bridge a gap with a family member from whom I’ve been estranged for a while? Do I confront a friend for something they did or said that wasn’t exactly right or truthful?
How about a professional conundrum … Am I in the right job or career? Which job should I accept? How do I find a job if I’ve been out of work?
Let’s face it, we are confronted constantly by decisions, choices, situations, and circumstances, which often aren’t clear. Many times … we absolutely know and we’ll justify our desire to the ends of the earth. Other times we haven’t the foggiest notion what to do. Whether we’ve decided or are trying to decide, we have one of two ways to guide our thinking, and I got a great reminder of those during my reading this week from Psalms 82-87 and Proverbs 14. In a couple very brief but power-packed verses, Proverbs 14:2, 12, we read …
Those who follow the right path fear the Lord; those who take the wrong path despise him.
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
I look at each of these verses as somewhat complementary … they’re essentially saying the same thing as one another. They point out that our choices can be made 1) my way, or 2) God’s way. Unless you’re a child and still living under the umbrellas of parents, or unless you’re incarcerated (hopefully you’re not any time soon), those are the only ways to do and to decide.
My way says, “I want what I want, when I want it. I don’t care what anyone else thinks or what anyone else wants, or how my choices affect anyone else.” Sound familiar? It says, “I want that new car that will show how cool I am regardless of whether I can afford it.” It says, “I deserve to …” It says, “I want to buy a house so that everyone will know I’m moving up the ladder.” It says, “I don’t care what my family says about him / her … I know they’re the right one for me because I know better than they do.” It says, “I’m never talking to so-and-so because they disrespected me and I’m never forgiving them for it.” It says, “yeah, I know what I said wasn’t exactly true, but I needed to stretch the truth a tiny bit and no one will be hurt by it.” It says, “I should be making more money … these people don’t appreciate me, and I deserve a raise / promotion.” How do I know these things? Because I’ve uttered those very words more times than I care to admit.
God’s way (the HIGH way) says, “I know you, and I love you. I love you even more than you love yourself. I want to give you what you need even if it’s not what you want or when you want it.” God’s way shows love and blessing to all His creation. It understands the greater good since He knows my heart, your heart, all hearts … He knows all truth, from the beginning of time to the end of time. He knows what’s best for us, way more than we do despite the fact that we think otherwise. God’s way results in our maximum blessing and in His maximum glory. God’s way is Jesus … who left His rightful place on a throne in heaven and put on human skin, surrendered His life, took a brutal, torturous, and merciless beating, and laid down His life for you and me. His life wasn’t taken, it was given. God’s way is selfless and sacrificial. That is clearly not my way. Not often enough, at least.
The differences are glaring. My way is self-focused, self-serving, self-motivated. God’s way … the HIGH way … is other-focused, other-serving, other-motivated. But here’s the thing that distinguishes my way from the HIGH way in the most profound way … when I defer to the HIGH way, both my way and others’ ways are optimized. Only God can solve that enigma, that of what is both best for me and best for others and best for Him. So, it’s not that we give up the best thing for us when we don’t pursue my way, we actually get the best for ourselves by choosing the HIGH way. That’s the amazing thing. Again, only God.
Choosing my way is easy … I just do nothing but let my selfish sin nature do what it’s inherently conditioned to do. Choosing the HIGH way is work. The thing is, though, God meets us most of the way there and makes it easy. How do we pursue the HIGH way? Matthew 7:7-11 tells us. Ask. Pray for His guidance, his counsel through the Holy Spirit. Seek. Open God’s word, the Bible, and look for the answers God has placed throughout to help us find clarity in the obscurity of life. Knock. Request input from wise, godly counsel … friends, family, clergy who are grounded in solid biblical knowledge. God doesn’t hide the answers, they’re right there available to us. The question is, will we choose the right ones?
Will we choose my way, or the HIGH way?
Solid Deo gloria!