There’s a phrase repeated over and over throughout Scripture, especially in the Old Testament. Every time this phrase is said, let the reader understand that things are about to get worse in the world or in Israel. Why? Because the phrase “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes” means that they were seeking righteousness on their own terms, and ignoring God’s commands. This is the nature of sin: “Everyone doing what is right in their own eyes.” Doesn’t this phrase sound familiar? It’s regurgitated over and again in our movies, music and media: “Do what makes you happy,” “you gotta do you,” “follow your heart.” We’re inundated with propaganda urging us, pleading with us to do what caused God’s wrath throughout the word of God.
Loved ones, why is it that when we follow our hearts, the consequences hurt? And why is it that we continue to double down on these things, hurting ourselves even further? It’s because we want to prove that our way is the best way. We want to prove that, on our own, we’re good enough, smart enough, strong enough, moral enough, and enough on our own. Enough for what, though? What we’re really saying is we’re enough without God. Yet, with suicide, depression, anxiety, and such things on the rise, we have to ask ourselves this question: why do we keep saying things that are proven to be untrue?
We’re only ever right if we’re in the design for us. The Designer knows our frame, our weaknesses, our illnesses. And He knows we can’t do it on our own. That is why Jesus came. Jesus left heaven to become one of us. He lived the perfect life, according to God’s design, that we could not, perfectly fulfilling all the righteousness of God. He alone was worthy to pay the debts for our sins and transgressions, and, on the cross, with His own life, body and blood, that is exactly what He did. He died and was buried, and on the Third Day, He rose again, conquering death, once and for all. He is alive, now, at the right hand of the Father, advocating for those who are His day and night (not giving leave to continue sinning, but to live in His righteousness), and some day, He is returning to set all things truly right. This is the nature of the Gospel: Christ’s righteousness in us. Not doing what we think is right, but doing what He says is right, and in modeling our lives after His example. Do not trust in your own heart. Trust in Jesus, and listen to His voice.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.