Because God’s Ways Works
Many people have misunderstood Jesus when He said His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). If I understand the context properly, Jesus isn’t saying in a simple vacuum that everything God commands His children is easy. His point is being saved in Jesus Christ is an easy yoke and light burden compared to trying to save ourselves by doing enough good works to somehow pay for our sins ourselves. But the reality is God asks of us some pretty hard things. Of course, His yoke becomes easy and His burden light because when we are saved by Jesus, He empowers and strengthens us to do these hard things.
However, let us never be surprised to find that much of what God calls us to do is hard. It goes against the grain. It isn’t natural for us. At first, we may not even want to do what He says. One such command is seen in Isaiah 55:6-7:
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (ESV).
Let’s face it. This is hard. Give up my way and thoughts? I like my way and my thoughts. I’ve become comfortable with my way and thoughts. My way and thoughts are the path of least resistance. They just come naturally to me. I usually walk my way and follow my thoughts without even having to think much about it. In fact, what I want to do at this point is highlight that I’m not wicked or unrighteous, so maybe I don’t actually have to do this. The problem is God’s point is not simply that if I’m wicked or unrighteous, I need to give up my way and thoughts. His point is that if I’m following my way and thoughts, I’m wicked and unrighteous. I need to give up my way and my thoughts.
As we sit in our culture of tolerance and coexistence that claims everyone’s way is equally valid, we find it hard to even listen to a message of this kind of change, let alone pursue it. So why would I remotely want to give up my own way and thoughts?
God gives three reasons.
Reason #1: Because God’s way is different—“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8, ESV). Just in case we were confused, let it be known that thoughts that originate with us are simply not God’s thoughts. The way that originates with us is simply not God’s way. If the best we can come up with to defend what we are doing is “I simply can’t imagine that God wouldn’t approve,” we are walking on thin ice. In fact, we are walking on no ice; we are splashing around, drowning within our own ignorance. We need to forsake our own way because our way is not God’s way.
Reason #2: Because God’s way is better—“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9, ESV). As Proverbs 14:12; 16:25 explain, our way will lead to death. But God’s way is life. His way is better than ours. As hard as it is to let go of what is natural and comfortable to us, we really need to because there is a better way.
And #3, wait for it…
Reason #3: Because God’s way works—“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11, ESV). God’s Word, His way does what it is sent out to do. It accomplishes what God sends it out to accomplish. Let’s face it. How many times has our way fallen flat on its face? We thought what we were doing was going to provide some kind of lasting happiness, some kind of long term fulfillment, some kind of overwhelming meaning to our lives. Instead, we had a moment of escape and pleasure followed by the empty feeling of worthlessness. What a waste!!! But that is not God’s way. God’s way works. When we pursue His way, we will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. His Word is so amazing that even though we have been thorns and briers, the watering of His Word and way will transform us into cypress and myrtle (cf. Isaiah 55:12-13). Why do you and I want to forsake our way and pursue God’s? Because God’s way works and no other way does.
Trust it. God’s way is different. God’s way is better. And God’s way works.
Whose way will you walk this week?