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Their Own Way
By: Robert Berendt (published September 29, 2016)

There seems to be a stubbornness or inner drive in adult humans that demands that we make our own choices. Parents will tell you that this drive appears early in the life of a child. Our Creator made the human mind so that we learn to gather information and finally come to a conclusion. That conclusion is our personal conclusion based on the facts we are able to gather, the perceptions we have about the world about us, the effect of the inner drives we have 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 all have found ourselves in a situation when we know what to do - what the right thing is to do, 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 will insist that we are right when deep inside we know there are seeds of doubt or a great uncertainty. Sometimes the less certain we are, the louder our explanations or positions are stated.

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 the 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 is 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 has to 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 the true track. We are also subject to whatever the adults who surround us teach when we are born. God has much to do to correct that which is wrong in each person.

A study of the Bible reveals many scriptures that explain the determination of people to have their own way in things they choose. They will do this even to their own hurt. Although we do not like to suffer, some of the choices we make guarantee suffering in our futures. 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 of His commandments and to live by them, and not to drift into the evil to which their own heart and eyes are inclined (Deut. 15:39). God knows the way we think. We are inclined to do what we want to do without anyone else telling us what to do. How often have we heard people say: "nobody is going to tell me what to do!"? No doubt we ourselves have thought or said similar words. Sin seems pleasurable to us at times (Heb. 11:25). Paul agonized over himself in the problem of not seeking his own will. He said he did not understand his own self 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. God had the task of changing Paul into a faithful child of God who had put the way of Satan behind him and was reaching out for God and His way of life (Phil. 3:13). Paul knew he would be battling his own will for the rest of his life, but with 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 actually 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 to have. All they are doing is teaching the child that it can have its own way if it makes loud enough noise, is persistent enough in demanding and that stubbornly clinging to something that is wrong is acceptable. Good parents will not allow that to happen. Good parents will teach children that their own way must always contain consideration for the rest of the family and for the world around them. They will 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 enough the drive to make one's own choices regardless of anyone else includes the fact that not even 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 that do.

Our own way, our own eyes, our own measuring sticks can be deceiving. But they are ours and they are unique. In some ways our habits of thought and action define us as a person 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 will strongly insist that evil is not evil and darkness is really 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 that people received who drank too much and too often, partied all day and night, 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.

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