Friday, March 1, 2019

Frank Sinatra Christians? ("I Did It My Way")

      In the 1960's Paul Anka penned the lyrics to a song which was made famous by Frank Sinatra called "My Way."  It is about a person nearing the end of their life on Earth ("the end is near", "the final curtain").  It speaks of life's ups, downs, decisions and choices.  The song may be about having the courage to live your life without allowing others to unduly control you with their judgments.  Depending on a person's situation, this kind of courage might be a beneficial thing.  But, as a Christian, could this song ever be an appropriate theme song for our way of life?  When we are about to stand before the Creator of the Universe, would we be proud to stand before our God and proudly proclaim to Him that we did it our way? 

     I mean no disrespect to Mr. Sinatra, but there are many church leaders and followers of God who, without realizing it, are attempting to serve God like the popular song suggests.  For them, devotion and loyalty is more about what they want, what will please the people and what is popular and entertaining so that visitors will come to "church."  The safe and guaranteed way, the way that is right and cannot be wrong,  gets laid aside and even ridiculed so that they may keep their newly discovered improvements on what God has said.  They are usurping the authority and guidance of the Holy Scriptures to do it "their" way. Their goal is not complete and careful obedience and submission to an all wise and all powerful Creator.  They are quick to create  new and improved ways to worship and new doctrines to teach.  They say, "God's revealed ways are not  enough for our times and our culture."  So they let the culture dictate how they do things.  Sadly, they are demonstrating that they believe themselves to be smarter than God.  Jesus did say the way to life is straight and narrow and that few would find it (Matthew 7:13).  Jesus also said that worshippers who lay aside the teachings of God to follow the teaches of men worship God in vain (Mark 7:6-9).  Paul gave an interesting thought in Romans when talking about religious people who refuse to submit to God's Words.  He said, "Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." (Romans 3:4). 

     A smarter than God person would likely say at this point that I am suggesting a "legalistic" approach to following God.  This would be an example of their not understanding the scripture and their defining words "their way."  They might suggest I am proposing we have the attitude of the "Pharisees."  I challenge anyone to show me one example in the Bible where God was unhappy with a person humbly being careful to do things "His way" as revealed in scriptures.  God's problem with the Pharisees was not their careful study of God's Word, but their failure to obey what they taught and their exaltation of "their" traditions above the Words of God (Matthew 23:2,3).  In reality, those who are going beyond the scriptures are more like the Pharisees than those who humbly and lovingly submit to only God's Word and His revealed examples of life and worship. 

     We all have a crucial choice to make.  We can worship and serve those who were created by God or we can retain God in our knowledge and reverence His every Word as truth and all sufficient for every "good" work (Romans 1:25; 2 Tim 3:16,17).  My Bible tells me over and over that doing it "my way" always has an unhappy ending when I have to face God.  On the other hand, can you imagine God ever being displeased with someone on the judgment day saying, "Sorry God, I am a sinner and you are all wise and knowing.  Please forgive me for always trying to worship and serve you "Your Way" as much as I possibly could."

Final Questions:  When we attend a gathering or assembly of those claiming to follow Jesus...:  Are we there to be pleased, entertained and catered to  OR are we there to humbly  hear the voice of God, a message from our Creator and Lord which might help us turn from our selfish ways and guide us closer to the narrow path which leads to eternal life?  Are we there to let God know how Great He Is and how important His every word is to us? Are we there to please God or to please ourselves?  Just asking.

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