In 1969 a song was written by Paul Anka that was made popular by a crooner named Frank Sinatra. The song has a thoughtful and appealing tune and is called “My Way”. The final stanza of the song does a good job of summing up the song–
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way
Yes, it was my way
It’s pretty clear that this song is an anti-Christian song since the entire song is like a theme for humanism. The author did things his way and didn’t answer to any supreme being or any human being. Of course, the author will answer to God one day, if he hasn’t already. So why am I talking about a 50 year old song?
I’ll tell you why.
Because I have seen more and more people who claim to be Christians live by this mantra:
I did it my way.
I’ll do it my way.
And then, eventually, in our obsession with our dreams, our purposes, and our goals, we end up believing that…
God exists to help me do it my way.
We are concerned only about our way.
The thing is…
Biblical Christianity teaches the opposite–
• Instead of being obsessed with our own plans and dreams, we are to submit to God’s plans. (Rom 14:8)
• Instead of being driven by our selfish desires, we are to deny ourselves. (Luke 9:23)
• Instead of thinking only of ourselves and our purpose and desires, we are to think of others. (Phil 2:3)
It’s easy to point a finger at others and shake our heads in sadness or disgust. See how selfishly they are living? Isn’t that a shame? But, while we may not ascribe to self-centered living in theory, how often do we live it without realizing it?
I am amazed, even though I have been walking with the Lord all these years, at how often I am driven by my own selfish desires and will. And disgusted at how often I find myself obsessing about myself and my happenings. Can you relate? Or am I alone on this one?
I think one of the greatest challenges of walking with the Lord is this:
Living for Him instead of for me.
And, in this current church culture, we aren’t even given this challenge, are we? We are told that we can live for ourselves and expect God to swoop in and be our personal genie to help us fulfill our big dreams and realize our insanely important purposes.
But God cares far more about our holiness than our happiness. (Romans 5:3-5)
And it’s not about us. Our lives are just a teeny-tiny point on the map of the universe and the timeline of history; both of which are utterly and absolutely under the sovereignty of God. (Isaiah 46:10)
God is choosing to use us for His glory and His purposes at this time. His glory. His purposes. (Ephesians 2:10)
I guess Paul sums it up best for all of us in Galatians 2:20–
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
This, as true believers, is our aspiration. We are to die to self and live for God. It is a message that isn’t heard very much anymore. You won’t hear it from most pulpits or read it in the Christian best-sellers. In a culture obsessed with only positive messages, this is a message that isn’t very popular.
Everyone wants to live life their way and they want a God who will bless them as they do things their way. And even those of us who truly desire to live for Christ can be swayed a bit by this wrong thinking about God.
And so I hope that today you will take some time to reflect on how you are living for yourself instead of for God. And while you do that, I’ll be doing the same. Just because I can write things like this, doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with the same things you do. It’s one thing to write. It’s another thing to live.
So let’s strive to live for God together, always turning to His Word for guidance and direction. And, in a world full of people obsessed with doing things “my way”, let’s do things His way.