I grew up on a farm with lots of sheep. I'm well acquainted with those beautiful creatures. They're really dumb by nature, and have a mind of their own, yesvery stubborn and determined to do it their way. That's who they are, and they act it out oh so well, believe me. Now, before we're too hard of those loveable creatures, we need to take a look at our hearts. The Bible compares our human nature to those of sheep, totally depraved, always trying to do things our own way. Isaiah chapter 53, verse 6 reveals both mankind's problem and God's remedy. "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
We've all gone astray off the path of life, many times. We have bought into the fatal choice of doing things our way, regardless of the cost, guilt and scars it leaves. We've turned to our own ways. It's not a pretty sight of the results of our stubbornness. We get lost, make bad choice, resultant in all sorts of regret, remorse and nagging guilt. We need divine help. Proverbs 14:12 clarifies the tragic results. "There is a way that seems right to man, but the end is the way of death."
Just at our lowest point, God intervened. That's the Gospel message or the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our Lord laid all of our "going our own ways"all our iniquities and twistedness that sin creates in our lives, on his son, Jesus. He shed his blood to pay in full and once for all for doing things our way. "Hallelujah! What a Savior." By faith in Jesus, I'm totally forgiven.
We choose, by God's enabling grace, to personally trust Jesus, and live in daily repentance. Because of the Gospel, we no longer have to live in guilt for past mistakes of going our own way, making bad choices. We're forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus. God no longer sees our sins for the true believer trusting in Jesus. Instead, he sees the righteousness of Christ credited to our lives.
In closing, I grew up enjoying the song, "My Way," by Frank Sinatra. It highlights the basic root problem, spiritually, of doing things our way. "I planned each charted course; each careful step along the way and more, much more than this, I did it my way."
My friend, whose way are you following, yours or God's? May this Lenten season be a time of giving up your heart to God anew, or for the very first time, by inviting his son to enter and live in your soul by faith, going God's way, not yours.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
Rev. Dan Chell is a pastor at Our Redeemer's Lutheran Brethren Church in Minot.