“Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
which is for those who fear you.
Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
for your ordinances are good.
See, I have longed for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life.” NRSV
As I have said many times, there is the way of the world and then there is God’s way. They are not in competition. Each is a way of life set before us, a fork in the road. Which road to take is the choice we must make.
The way of the world is the default option, requiring no choice at all. We are born into this world. Its ways engulf us and determine us if never questioned.
God’s way is a conscious choice one must make. It does not determine us. It is an invitation to discover who we really are, who we are really meant to be as God’s own. The way of God or the “ordinances” of God, to quote the Psalmist, are the tools we require to make this self-discovery. There is a right way that is done.
The biggest stumbling block for many Christians is that the answers they seek for their self-discovery are housed in the people they have been taught to dismiss, disregard, and cast away as unworthy of the seeker’s time and resources. In these “others” is buried the treasure of our true selves we seek. The teaching of Jesus and the way he lived his life of faith is the treasure map.
For many, that is too high a price to pay to find our true selves. So, we develop treasure maps that take us to places and treasures someone other than God buried for us to find. Many people are led to believe that if you say Jesus’ name enough times real loud and sprinkle Bible verses over this treasure not-from-God, it’s really the same thing.
You can guess my response to that. So, let me close with the words church historian, Lester McAllister, a seminary professor of mine, was very fond of saying when questions like this arose, “You pays your money and you takes your chances.”
Personally, staking my soul on anything other than God’s way is a chance I’m not willing to take. God’s road, God’s treasure map, is the only road for me. It’s narrower and a lot less crowded.
Be a blessing to someone today!