Clinging to the Old Ways – Finding Control in an Uncontrollable World

Having It Your Way

Having it Your Way, Clinging to the World - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Do you find yourself clinging to the old way of doing things? It seems that life in this pandemic has us longing for the old way of doing things and clinging to a former life. But the reality is there is a new normal coming to town. Sometimes though we just insist on doing things our way. We cling to that life mostly out of comfort. For often new and different makes us feel out of control and unstable. But we’ve clung for a long time even though our clinging isn’t necessarily the best way. Why do we gravitate to the old when perhaps new and different are better?

The marketing media has consistently told us that doing things our way is what we should expect and demand. For instance, for over 40 years, Burger King told us to “Have It Your Way” with its marketing slogan. But they aren’t the first nor will they be the last. Interestingly, not to pick on Burger King, but 4 years ago they decided to change their slogan to, “Be Your Way.” The idea behind this was to remind people that “they can and should live how they want anytime.” Let’s just consider that for a moment allowing it to sink in. Should we do and live as we want, anytime?

This reminds me of the scripture in Judges 21:25. It roughly translates to; all the people did whatever they thought was right. Is that the world we live in, it certainly seems that way a lot of the times? But being and doing things our way doesn’t seem to be working out for us any more than it did in the time of the Judges. So, if we aren’t clinging to our own way of life then what should we cling to?

Have Thine Own Way

It seems that scripture has a clear answer to that as did the hymn writer, Adelaide A. Pollard when she wrote the hymn, Have Thine Own Way. According to hymnologist, Kenneth Osbeck, Ms. Pollard had a strong desire to be a missionary in Africa. The written hymn came to birth upon an unsuccessful attempt to raise funds to make a trip to Africa. This left her feeling disappointed and with what she describes as a “distressing soul.” The hymn is the result of a soul in crisis. This coupled with the simple prayer of an elderly lady’s personal reflection on the will of God for her life.

It is based on the writing of Jeremiah 18:3-6 whereas the hymn writer, like Jeremiah, realized that we are to God, like clay in the potter’s hands. It is up to us to accept that and willingly give up our life for God’s will. “Have Thine own way! Thou are the potter; I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded, and still.” God speaks to us in unlikely places and often through unexpected people and circumstances. So, we must be listening to those around us and not angling to “have it our own way.”

Listening with Commitment

It is clear, however, that not everything we hear is from God for there is a lot of noise in the world today and much of it goes against the teaching of Christ. But if we willingly turn to God for direction and guidance, He will gently nudge us in the right direction, but we must be listening. We must be hearing all people for when we do, we will see God is at work.

Because God has more than just us in His hands. He is at work all around us and least we think He needs us, let us stop and consider that thought, for our hands are not the only hands that God has. Sometimes even, like Ms. Pollard, our good deeds and intentions are not what God wants us to do. But to hear His voice and accept it, we must be committed to Him above all else. And perhaps this is where we get hung up, “above all else.” However, maybe, we need to examine the alternative.

Clinging to Life on Earth

When we look to life on earth and begin to cling to it above all else, we are setting ourselves up for failure in so many ways. Because clinging to this life on earth may cause us to lose the best that Christ offers us both here and in our next life. The more we love the rewards of this life such as “having our own way,” with our free-time, power, popularity, finances, and even security; the more we discover that these things are empty and unfulfilling. It is more important to realize that the best way to enjoy life is to loosen our greedy grasp on the earth for it is here that we find the freedom to follow Christ.

If you cling to your life, you will lose, it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Matthew 10:39 (NLT)

These words of Christ prepared the disciples for their trials for life in this world while living for Him. But through their focus and commitment to Christ, they not only received eternity but the benefits of following Christ while on earth. We, too, are offered this benefit if we are willing to stop clinging to the things of this world so we can see and hear the things of God.

Clinging to Christ

It is through publicly identifying ourselves with Christ that begins our first step of a new life with different and more rewarding benefits. By trusting in God fully to take care of all our needs, we learn to handle each opposition we face with a different outlook. Furthermore, by focusing fully on Christ, no matter what, we hold what we need both for life on earth and life to come.

Won’t you take the challenge of Christ to stop clinging to the things of this world, giving up your will for His? Find your convictions rooted deeply in knowing that Christ offers you life above all else for your commitment to Him. Experience motivation from knowing that by allowing God to have His way, your way will be found. Lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that above all else Christ loves you no matter the choices you cling to.

Let’s work together while staying committed to Christ in this new world with a new normal. For perhaps the world needs committed believers more than ever before.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’

C.S. Lewis

Extra Study

Matthew 16:25, Mark8:35, Luke 9:24;17:33, John 12:25

What are Your Thoughts?

Do you struggle with God over Him having His way? Have you found yourself clinging to the things of this life or longing for things that offer fulfillment of life? Share your thoughts on the freeing peace only found by allowing God to take control of your life.

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