William J. Stewart
We would do well to learn the truth found in the title of this article. Wise old Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Whatever the motive for wanting to do things our own way, we need to realize, especially regarding situations of a spiritual nature, that our way is not the right way. The more you look at the relationship between God and man, the more you see why it is compared to that of a father and child. We are truly children. All sorts. Some obedient, some disobedient. Some willing to please, some stubborn and stuck in our own ways. Some wise (even wiser than our Father), and some understanding that He is truly wiser, that’s why He is the Father.
God created a beautiful world, filled with amazing wonders. A perfect world. However, mankind, using his own reasoning ability on what ought and ought not be done, gave in to temptation and ate the forbidden fruit. The Father had spoken concerning it, but mankind had other ideas when it came down to the crunch. Adam and Eve were overwhelmed with “peer pressure,” and thus disobeyed the voice of the Father. What could it hurt?
You give your children rules which they ought to obey. “Don’t get into a car if someone has been drinking.” “You stay with your younger brother at the mall.” “Never hitchhike. Call for a ride.” “Stay away from the construction site.” Their attitude towards disobeying your voice might be, “What could it hurt?”, just as we sometimes reason concerning disobeying the voice of God. Sound advice given from a loving parent, yet if left unheeded, dreadful consequences occur. The driver is drunk, but your son doesn’t want to look like a sissy. Your son dies at the hands of an intoxicated driver, who unfairly survives the accident….. Your older son doesn’t want to be a baby sitter for his younger sibling. “Stay here,” he command his brother, and he walks off with his friends. Your younger son disappears from the spot, and is now a missing person….. “I don’t want to bother mom and dad,” your daughter thinks. “I’ll just hitch a ride home.” And now, the police stand at your door with deep words of sorrow….. The hospital calls. It’s junior. He’s lost a leg while playing at the construction site, where he wasn’t to be in the first place….. Sound advice given from a loving parent, yet left unobserved, the outcome is horrifying.
Paul writes to the brethren at Ephesus, and specifically to the children there, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” A lesson that children in Paul’s day needed to hear. A lesson that children in our day and age need to hear. A lesson that you and I need to hear, being the children of God. Again, Paul writes, “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” It is easy for parents to understand that the commands and rules they set down are for the safety and well being of their children. Why do we consider the commandments of God to be any different? God has set down certain commandments, which we ought to heed, for they are the way which is right. “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.”
The apostle Peter in his first epistle writes, “Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called your is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”” “…As obedient children…” That’s what God would have of us. Just as we would have our children be obedient to us, He would that we were obedient to Him.
Peter quoted Moses in saying, “…be holy, for I am holy.” God expects great things from us. To be holy, to be perfect. Mankind was once at that plateau, and God desires that we strive to attain it again. “Be holy, for I am holy.” How do we do it? We sin, remember, Paul said, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” How can those who have sinned be holy as God is holy? Paul lists a number of transgressions of law to the Corinthian brethren, and says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
May we never be so stubborn that we are not willing to accept God’s way. God is the One who provides for us the means by which we can again attain holiness. “…Be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live!”