We are a society that enjoys standing around with friends singing popular songs into a microphone over prerecorded music. We call this type of entertainment “karaoke.” One of the favorite karaoke songs is a song written by Paul Anka and popularized by Frank Sinatra. You know the song, titled My Way, and the words, “I did it my way.”
There is something to be said about charting your own course through life rather than simply following in someone’s footsteps. In fact, Robert Frost wrote a well known poem titled The Road Not Taken which begins with the words “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both” and ends with this –
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages hence and hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
But “my way” or the “one less traveled” is not what God desires of us when we submit to Him. Obedience to God is defined as submitting our ways, our wills, to Him. Rick Warren has said that Biblical obedience is Love + Trust + Action. If we truly love God we trust that His ways are better than our ways, and we will desire to live out that love and trust in our actions. As you can guess, the Bible is full of references “God’s Way.”
We will start with the words of Jesus, found in John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commands.”
After a long night of fishing and pulling their nets up empty, Jesus asked master fisherman Peter to go back out and try again. It is likely that Peter wasn’t too happy with that request, but here is his response to Jesus, found in Luke 5:5 – “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Psalm 18:30 makes it clear that God’s way is our best option – “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.”
And in Isaiah 55:8-9 we read this – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
The first verse of the hymn Have Thine Own Way written by Adelaide Addison Pollard and Dana Mengel so beautifully narrates the very essence of obedience. It goes like this – “Have Thine own Way Lord have Thine own way, Thou art the Potter I am the clay, Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting yielded and still.”
The word karaoke comes from two Japanese words: “kara” which means empty and “oke” which means orchestra. So doing it your own way often does leave you feeling empty. Jesus, in the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer says this, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” So today we encourage you to fully submit your will to Jesus and leave “I did it my way” to what you sing when you gather with friends around the Karaoke Machine.