I did not want to become a Christian. I still remember the struggle all those years ago. I didn’t want to give up my decadent lifestyle. I didn’t want to give up certain friends who strongly opposed Christianity. I didn’t want to give up choosing to do things my way. I wanted to make my own choices and do what I thought was best for me.
The problem was—I wasn’t doing such a great job. My life was a mess. I was a mess. At that low point, I concluded that what I’d been fighting against was the very thing I needed the most. God. His forgiveness. His grace. His mercy.
If there had been a physical road to salvation, you might have seen drag marks in the pavement from my feet. Not that God dragged me. Christianity was clearly my choice, my decision.
I know I’m not alone. There are many who fear becoming Christians for the very reasons I did. They want to make their own decisions and live the lifestyle they deem appropriate for them. To do it their way.
The people of Judah had a similar problem. In fact, God sent Jeremiah to them with this message.
“Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” ’ ” Jeremiah 18:11 (NKJV)
The people of Judah had strayed so far from God’s intent for their lives that God sent a strong warning for them to listen to Him and follow the path He had for them. He wanted them to give up the detrimental lifestyle they’d adopted. He wanted them to return to putting Him first instead of doing what they wanted. He wanted them to choose Him. But what did the men of Judah say?
“And they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.” Jeremiah 18:12 (NKJV)
Despite the imminent threat of disaster and the fact that the Lord God would turn against them, the Judeans said this was too hard. It was hopeless to try to do good. They didn’t want to give up their evil ways. They didn’t want to listen to God. They didn’t want to follow His plan. Instead, they would do it their way, and they even admitted their way was evil.
I have to say I can relate to these Judeans. There are times I don’t want to wait to see what God wants me to do. Instead, I want to do things my way, or do what seems best to me. I barge ahead with my plans without stopping to consider what I’m doing and it never ends well.
Yet when I stop to remember those early days of being a Christian, the awe of the rightness of surrender returns. What I had feared—the giving up of self—turned out to be the best for me. Not once when I’ve surrendered to God’s will and waited for His direction has He let me down. He is trustworthy and knows what is right for me.
He knows what is right for you too. When you are tempted to live life your way, take a moment to consider and pray. And give the reins over to God. You won’t regret living your life His way.