by Robert Berendt
Our conclusions are not always the right ones even if we do have the facts.
There seems to be a stubbornness or inner drive in we adults that demands we make our own choices. Parents will tell you this drive appears early in the life of a child. Our Creator made the human mind able to gather information and finally concluded. It is our personal conclusion based on the facts we gather, the perceptions we have about our world, our inner drives like being impetuous, self-loving, precocious, self-deprecating and a whole range of inner forces that work within our minds.
Our conclusions are not always the right ones even if we do have the facts. We have all found ourselves in a situation when we know what to do – what’s the right thing, but we do not do it! Children may not have many facts and cannot always make wise decisions, but when they decide they want something, they are very persistent in seeking fulfillment. We sometimes insist we are right when there are seeds of doubt deep inside of us, or possibly even a great uncertainty. Sometimes the less certain we are, the louder we state our explanations or positions.
Important factors in our character like courage, determination, long-suffering, humility, being constant in doing good works and choosing to follow the words of God are positives that flow from this inner drive to make our own choice. God demands that we choose, but cautions us to choose wisely. There is only one wise choice, and that is to follow the laws and guidelines of the Almighty Creator. He is the source of all wisdom and being stubborn for right and good things are essential in our relationship with Him. Choose life – God commanded Israel (Deut.30:19). For most, that choice comes later in life when we gain knowledge and have developed character. Paul noted that humans were all lost in sin before they came to know and accept Christ and God’s way (I John 1:8,9. Rom.5:8,9)
“Let them think they have their own way” – Satan craftily advises! This is one of his ploys he must influence humans to drift toward him and away from their Creator. The drive we have to find and follow our own way, puts us in danger when we are not able to make wise decisions. Or when our stubborn attitudes take us off track. We are also subject to whatever we were taught by the adults who surrounded us. God has much to do to correct what is wrong in each of us.
A study of the Bible reveals many scriptures that explain the determination of people to have their own way. They will do this even to their own hurt. Although we do not like to suffer, some of the choices we make guarantee future suffering. When God led Israel out of Egypt He gave them His great commandments. Knowing how internal struggles occur in our minds, God advised them to wear a tassel to remind them of all His commandments. He wanted them to live by them, and not to drift into the evil to which their own heart and eyes were inclined (Deut.15:39).
God knows the way we think. We are inclined to do what we want to do without anyone else’s influence. How often have we heard people say: “nobody is going to tell me what to do!”? No doubt we have thought or said similar words. Sin seems pleasurable to us at times (Heb.11:25). Paul agonized over not seeking his own will. He said he did not understand himself at times because that which he wanted to do, he did not practice, but that which he hated, that he did (Rom.7:1517). His explanation was that the sin that dwelt in him was responsible and in that way, Paul was right. He grew up in ways that contradicted God’s ways and carried that into his conversion. (Phil.3:13). Paul knew he would be battling his own will for the rest of his life, but by using the help Christ offers, success is a guarantee (Phil.4:13).
There is an inner working that Christ does within the life of all who yield to Him. That is not taking away a person’s ability to make choices but it is learning what the right and good choices are and how we can best benefit from them. In time, our own way will have become God’s way. God resists a stubborn mind that is rebellious, lacking faith and trust in His instructions and that does not set its mind on the right course (Psalm 78:8,9). God continues to work in our lives to rescue us from ourselves and our own errors that are influenced by Satan. God corrects and punishes as a good Father would for the well-being of the child He loves (Heb.12:6,7).
Many parents have tried to win the love of their children by giving them everything and anything the child wants. All they are doing is teaching the child he can have his own way if he’s loud enough and is persistent enough in demanding. That stubbornly clinging to something that is wrong is acceptable behavior. Good parents will not allow that. Good parents teach children their own way must always consider the rest of the family and the world around them. They teach the child to work hard and make wise decisions. God knows that any person who continually lives by evil choices is heading down the road to death and destruction (Matt.7:13). Sadly, the drive to make one’s own choices regardless of anyone else includes the fact that not even fear of death will stop a person (Prov.11:19). Medical science teaches the proven result of choices like addictions to drink, alcohol, drugs or habits of living – is an early death and often a miserable life. We can wonder why anyone would choose that, but every day there are millions who do.
Our own way, our own eyes, our own measuring sticks can be deceiving. In some ways, our thoughts and actions define us and perhaps that is why they are so hard to change. It is not that we always insist on choosing evil and wrong, our minds strongly insist that evil is not evil and darkness is not darkness. Isaiah was inspired by God to write that God had done everything He could have done short of forcing people and taking away their free moral agency, but people turned from His advice anyway. Isaiah wrote about woes people received who drank too much and too often, were ignorant and thus not able to make wise decisions and called evil good and good evil. They put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Yet in their own eyes, they saw themselves as being wise, prudent and just (Isaiah 5:1-23).
Mankind has had his own way since Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan. The result has been anything but a happy and fulfilling life, yet people persist. Even when facts showing our error hit us squarely in the face, we can find ways to deny them. Jesus Christ said He did not come to seek His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him (John 5:30). Wisdom begins in admitting that we know little, but God knows everything. Our ways are flawed by our ignorance and shortcomings in our character. Our own way is always suspect. When we pray “Thy will be done” it is an acceptance that we seek His presence in our lives every day all day. A child of God to whom this universe is offered realizes that His way must become their way. God’s chosen ministry proclaims the way of salvation (Acts 16:17, 18:25). The choice remains with us, if only our eyes will see.