‘Do Your Own Thing.’ Really?

hippie_do your own thing

Did you ever wonder what would happen if everyone went around doing anything he or she wanted to do without any values to guide them?

A mother repeatedly told her little boy to sit down. The boy continued to stand, disobeying his mother. Finally, the mother went to him, and plopped him down in a chair. Fuming, the boy said, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I am standing on the inside!” (Walter K. Knight)

In his mind, the little boy kept doing what he wanted even after his mother made him do something else. He was still acting defiantly in his attitude because he was thinking selfishly. This story illustrates how obedience must be a matter of the inner heart and not merely a matter of outward conformity.

Human nature reveals that when we don’t have a change of heart we will go on wanting to do anything we want without regard of the outcome. This usually leads to disobedience which eventually gets us into trouble. For example, think of Lot’s wife. She did what she wanted to do instead of listening to God’s instructions and we know what happened to her (Genesis 19:26; Luke 17:32).

Some theorize that Lot’s wife was lagging way behind her family when fleeing Sodom. Meanwhile, God began blasting the wicked city with fire and brimstone. So, it’s thought that she may have been so far behind her family that she remained too close to the city as God was destroying it. This is implied in Genesis 19:17 where the angel warned them, “look not behind thee…lest thou be consumed.”

Why didn’t she keep up with her husband and the others? Because, even though she was obeying God to leave the city, her heart was longing to go back. So it is believed that as she turned around, the ashes and debris from the fire and brimstone fell on top of her, which covered her body, eventually turning it into salt. Another idea is that she was enveloped in chunks of rock salt as indicated by the salt deposits in the Dead Sea area. http://www.creationtips.com/lots_wife.html

This reminds me of a joke. Tom: “Did you know that Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt because she did not obey God?” Charles: “That’s nothing. My mother turned into a telephone pole because she didn’t obey the traffic signal.”

Without moral guidelines and moral leaders to enforce those guidelines, even nations can get into trouble. The Bible describes a time in Israel’s history when the people had no king and everyone did what he and she wanted to do under their own inclinations. Judges 17:6 and 21:5 state, “In those days, Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit,” (New International Version, NIV). People were living selfishly according to their own whims and wants, without living according to God’s laws and disciplines. 

It reminds me of a popular saying in the 1960’s, “Do your own thing.” In fact, there was a pop song with the lyrics, “It’s your thing, do as you want to do.” If this seems to be a very self-centered attitude, then you are correct.

Actually, “do your own thing” tends to think only of three persons: “me,” “myself,” and “I”. These are the only three persons that really matter to some people. Everyone else takes a back seat.

“Do your own thing” is like having your own little tea party. There’s a poem that goes,

I had a little tea party
This afternoon at three.
‘Twas very small
Three guests in all–
Just I, myself, and me.

Myself ate all the sandwiches,
While I drank up the tea;
‘Twas also I
Who ate the pie

And passed the cake to me. (unknown)

When all we do is our own thing, we lose touch with morality and order. Focusing too much on whatever “I” want or whatever “I” think is right is not the wisest way for one to live. It can even lead to death. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death,” Proverbs 14:12. 

When Israel did what was right in their own eyes, they heaped problems on themselves. This is why God told them from the beginning, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep his decrees, I will not bring on you any of these diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you,” (Exodus 15:26, NIV).

Sadly, our society is heading in the kind of direction Israel was warned not to go. If you look at the kind of lifestyles and attitudes many are choosing today, you can see how the moral consensus is shrinking.

As we began to enter this 21st century, Shirley Dobson referred to a U.S. survey by authors James Patterson and Peter Kim asking people to honestly respond to questions about their lifestyles and values. According to the survey, 74 percent stated that they would steal from others if they felt what they took wouldn’t be missed, 50 percent lied when it suited them, 53 percent thought it was okay to waste the equivalent of a full day of work each week, and 30 percent said they would cheat on their tax return.

Patterson and Kim came to the conclusion, “There is absolutely no moral consensus at all…Everyone is making up their personal moral codes–their own Ten Commandments.” (Prayer Lines, Summer 2001) I don’t think our world has improved much since this survey was taken. This is what happens when the people adopt a “do you own thing” mentality. Few people feel safe anymore.

But when we do God’s thing and practice what is right in HIS eyes, then we will blessed. Here is what Psalm 19:7-11 says:

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Think about it: Would you rather do your own thing and have a hopeless end, or would you rather do God’s thing and have an endless hope?

Good News to you!
Pastor Michael

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