Why can’t things go my way?
What exactly is “my way,” and how does “my way” fit into serving God?
Don’t you hate it when things don’t go your way? I did too. I was a complainer; I would complain as soon as things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. I would get irritated, jealous and even angry when things didn’t go my way.
“My way” is an endless list of how I think everything should go. It is the demands and expectations I have on other people, and the expectations I have for what I think should happen in life’s many different situations. “My way” is my ego. “My way” is my lusts and desires. “My way” comes from my sinful human nature. The Bible refers to this human nature as “the flesh.” In Romans 8:8 it’s written, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” I can’t please God if I am living according to the desires of the flesh, or living life “my way.” The truth is that “my way” simply does not fit into my life at all if I want to serve God.
From “my way” to “God’s way”
God’s way is the opposite of “my way,” and something needs to change drastically if I am going to start doing things God’s way instead of my way.
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. Nicodemus knew that people cannot be physically born again and he didn’t understand what Jesus was trying to say. Jesus explained to him about a new birth according to the Spirit. When I give my life to God, surrendering completely, I am reborn. I make a conscious decision to stop living according to “my way.” I put off the “old man” – the mind to serve and live according to the sin in my flesh. (Ephesians 4:22 and Romans 6:6)
This means that I no longer give in to the selfish demands and expectations of my flesh. Then I am free to serve God and find His will for my life, and God sends me the Holy Spirit to instruct and guide me – to teach me the difference between “God’s way” and “my way,” and to give me the power to obey Him! (Romans 8:11-15)
Exchanging “my way” for something of eternal value
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13. Suffering doesn’t make sense according to my feelings and human reasoning, but it is through the sufferings of Christ – crucifying my lusts and desires (my will) – that I receive glory and joy that is everlasting.
In the midst of every situation, God is trying to show me something. When my car breaks down, for example, things are clearly not going “my way.” But God’s will is something completely different than what I want according to my human understanding. Maybe He wants me to see my own pride: how I think I have control in my life, and that I am quick to become impatient and bitter. When I consciously choose to be quiet in that situation, without giving in to anger or bitter thoughts, then I suffer in my flesh, because I’m not letting it have its way. However, I receive something of eternal value in return.
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10. The “suffering” isn’t the fact that my car has broken down, but that I don’t give in to the inclinations of my flesh (“my way”). Rather than complaining, I am overcoming the sin that dwells in my human nature and being set free from it!
A more than worthwhile hope
With the hope of being set free more and more, I can press on, rejoicing in all of the circumstances that life brings. I can begin to see my daily life in the same way the apostle Paul did: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18. This mindset will bring a blessing that “my own way” never could!
This post is also available in: Norwegian Bokmål
You might also be interested in our theme page about Overcoming sin.