Why is doing what is best, what we know is from God’s love and leading so very difficult to choose sometimes? We know what is good and right, but we just can’t bring ourselves to do it, at least not right then.
Why is this so difficult? My deep theological answer: We don’t want to.
This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look…ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ ” – Jeremiah 6:16
So, there it is. God’s clear direction of what His good way is for us. God has answered our questions and shown us the good way (God’s way!) to go. God tells us to walk in it – follow His path for our lives. And our God promises that when we do walk in obedience to Him we will find rest for our souls. Why, then, when so many of us are so very restless in our souls and worn out by life, won’t we choose to obey God? Again, from the school of cut-to-the-chase-theology: We don’t want to.
God’s Word reveals that our stubborn, self-magnifying response to His loving command to walk in His way is far too often: “We will not walk in it.” I don’t know about you, but when I respond to God with that kind of attitude and behavior, I have to face the very ugly truth that I’m pretty much flipping God off. In my self-centered thinking and acting, I am telling God that I want what I want when I want it…that what I want is what I’m going after. Even if He doesn’t like it. I’m telling God to just stay out of my way as I go my own way. I have the right to decide for myself what I do with my life, my thoughts, my words, my actions and my relationships. I’m letting God know, in such a very mature fashion: You’re not the boss of me!
I can decide to go my own way. That’s true. I (and you) have been given freedom of choice. But, that doesn’t change the fact, that in the grand scheme of eternity, God is the boss of me. God is the giver and ruler of Life. God is the King of kings and Lord of lords. So, whether or not I choose to live in obedience to God’s good, righteous and loving authority – this does not change the fact that God is the sovereign authority for all eternity. God never changes.
Yet, God, in His loving, sovereign authority, promises a change for each of us who chooses to follow God’s good way and walk in obedience to Him. That change: Rest for our souls.
Ahhhhh…rest and refreshment, quietness and strength…for my soul. I know for certain that kind of soul-rest has never been the result of any of my stubborn-go-my-own-way decisions. God really is a lot smarter than I am! So, with God’s grace and strength, I’m asking God not only to show me His good way for my life-walk, I’m also asking God to grab me by the nape of my neck and drag me over to His good way – if He has to!
I don’t want to forfeit any more rest for my soul by selfishly choosing something I want to do that has absolutely no eternal value and, most likely, has some pretty ugly temporal consequences. I want my life to be God’s. And I sure as heck want some of that soul-rest that following God’s good way alone offers!
Want to join me on that path? There’s plenty of room. And plenty of loving, soul-rest to go around for all of us who choose to walk in God’s good way!