Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16)
I was recently made aware of a song by Kacey Musgraves called “Follow Your Arrow.” The song does a good job of summing up what many voices are saying: Do whatever you want, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. The verses of the song then give examples of decisions that, the song implies, are nothing more than personal preferences: who you sleep with and when, if you go to church or not, if you smoke pot or not, etc.
My first thought when I heard these lyrics, and the thing I want to state here, is this: Do we really want to live in a world where nothing is truly, objectively good and life-giving and where nothing is truly, objectively bad and life-stealing? Do we really believe that our decisions have zero impact on our life, happiness, and joy?
The push for this approach to life is understandable: We want to be our own authority (god) and not submit to any outside authority. This is nothing new; it is as ancient as Adam and Eve.
But I don’t think we realize the emptiness and frustration of living in a world with no directions, no signs saying, “Go this way, not that way,” “This way is good and life-giving; that way is not.” Ultimately, this is a world with no purpose, no meaning, no end to which all is moving. And it is a world that will not supply the happiness and contentment we all desire.
What we need is an authority outside of ourselves, and for this authority to be thoroughly good. We need the wisdom and direction of this authority to tell us how to live this life. More than that, we need to know what this life is for in the first place.
And of course, that is what Christianity asserts. We have a King, the Creator of all things, who is perfectly good. All his ways are good. All his commands are good. Of course, they don’t always align with our desires and wishes, but that is exactly what we should expect if He is God, we are not, and there is something in us that rebels against him.
But we can be assured that he is good, and that his goodness extends to us by his willingness to come into his world, suffer, and die for our sake, in the place of our sins. He is the Servant King.