“I did it my way” was a popular song a generation ago. But the philosophy certainly didn’t stop being popular when the song wasn’t being sung much anymore. Too often, in life, the attitude is “My way or the highway.” On the job, it’s common for people to demand their way or they will leave or go on strike. In the family, it certainly takes place that husbands or wives declare, “it’s got to be my way or I’m not participating.” Even with the children they usually reach a point of demanding they have their way about what to eat, drink or where to go or what to do.
I suppose it is normal this time of year with the political season in progress that we would become even more attuned to what we want and how can we get it. It just seems to be everywhere you look there is a group marching, demanding attention in some fashion to get their way. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the same mentality comes to church and different people are so sure that their way is the right way that if you don’t do things the way they want then they are either mad, quitting or headed somewhere else where they suppose, at least for a time, that everything will go the way they want it to go.
By the way, let me make this clear, that I’m not just talking about other people. I like things to go my way. I have very definite ideas on how things ought to be and often believe that if that isn’t the way they are done then something is horribly wrong and wonder what is wrong with others that they can’t see that the way I think is right is the right way altogether.
But then, I remember Jesus in one of the most crucial hours of history and for the future of the entire world. He came into this world knowing the plan of God for his life and ultimate sacrifice for all people so that we might have new hope and new opportunity and a new future. But, he was now facing the final hours on this earth before being beaten, mocked, spit upon and crucified mercilessly for the crimes and sins that others had committed. He traveled along with eleven of the apostles to the Garden of Gethsemane, a familiar place for him to go and pray with them. He left all but Peter, James, and John behind and went further where he instructed them to watch and pray with him because he was deeply troubled. He traveled on a stone’s throw further and fell on his face in agony as he prayed, “Father. if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” His agony was so great that the sweat fell like great drops of blood.
When he got up and went back to the three disciples, they were sound asleep. They wanted to be able to be there for him but they were weak. He asked them again to watch and pray with him that they might not enter into temptation and went again to repeat the prayer to the Father. It happened three times and then he came to them to say arise. The time had come for him to meet the mob, to face the trials, to be mistreated, and rejected. He would carry his cross to Golgotha where they would crucify him even though he had the power at any moment to stop it, to call for twelve legions of angels to come and destroy this whole mob of hypocrites. Instead, he prayed, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
The single act of history that made it possible for our sins to be forgiven happened because of the heart of Jesus that didn’t demand his way but yielded to God’s way. Many times in life it would be much more godly to simply yield our will to someone else instead of pushing for our way.
But in the church or family or any other part of a Christian’s life, the real test is will we yield to God’s will and pray for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, rather than trying to press our will to be done on earth and in heaven? The church can only be God’s church when God’s will is what really matters. If the essence of our existence isn’t reading, praying, studying and reasoning with each other to know and follow His will in everything, nothing else will matter. If we can gather the biggest crowd, with the most exciting worship and most eloquent speakers but the primary thought isn’t doing what God wants, it is a royal waste of time.