There’s an old song that pops into my head sometimes — you know how it is. In the shower or in the check-out line, you find yourself transformed like a karaoke queen inside your own noggin. The weird thing is, I don’t know why this song sticks like it does.
I wouldn’t say that I was a Bob Dylan fan. Don’t get me wrong, he’s written amazing music and he’s definitely an icon of his era. But there is one song of his that is so poetically beautiful, that I just love it. It’s hook goes like this — “It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
It’s brilliant. It’s simple. It’s truth. If you knew nothing else in life, and only applied that one nugget to everything you think, do, and say, you would come out way ahead of the game. It’s reasonable. it’s sound.
The world, on the other hand, wants to make things so complicated. It is always muddying the waters. It seems to suggest that things are not so cut and dry, as if we can serve two masters. It tells us that sin is okay, as long as it makes us “happy.” It gets us out of having to be accountable for certain things when it’s not convenient or fun, or when we’ve just had enough of being a good parent or spouse or friend. The ends will always justify the means, right?
The world cares little that it may be in opposition to what God says. It deems for us what is right and wrong, and what we can and cannot be offended by. As if we need its permission to pray, stand for the Anthem, or befriend someone from a different side of the aisle, race, or religion.
Everything is inside out and upside down. For instance, why is harming a puppy considered cruelty (it is) but killing a baby late in term is a “right” (it’s not). I just don’t understand it.
If all of that is too hard to consider, how about something a little less dramatic …Like keeping your word or a confidence, gossiping about a friend, or simply caring enough to be on time when someone is waiting for you?
The Bible says “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” Luke 16:10
In my own life, I know and love people who buy into thinking that if they are mostly faithful, honest, and don’t steal anything of value, that they are covered. “It’s not a big deal,” they might say.
Whether you believe the Word, or just Bob Dylan, you have to pick a side. You can’t be one person some of the time, and another person only when it’s convenient. There is a saying that says “Character is who you are when no one is looking.”
I’m not writing this to make anyone uncomfortable, including myself. It’s just that I get so doggone tired of hypocrisy. Why is something not okay for one person, but we are supposed to consider the context of their experience when someone else does it?
The truth is, we are not stupid. We don’t need to be told right from wrong, we know it intrinsically. We don’t need social media to “trend” when it’s all good to tear down someone because of their beliefs, but hold up someone else for theirs. In the infamous words of Rodney King, can’t we all just get along?
God’s ways are simple. Brilliant. True. He wrote them down for us so that there would be no confusion. He even gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us, to nudge us onto the right path, to convict our hearts when we don’t choose well.
The virtues of respect, faithfulness, honesty, protection, and kindness are for our good. They keep us ordered so that we don’t always have to go around measuring different shades of gray. Standing in love, honoring wholeheartedly our covenants and the people God gives to us, even in the face of difficulties and differences, are the substance of a life well-lived. They are the building blocks of legacy. They say what side you stood for.
I may not always get things right. I can be a bit hard-headed. I vacillate sometimes in my degrees of effort, in eating right, or keeping my house tidy. I’m not a perfect Proverbs 31 woman. But I apologize when I’m wrong, I’ve raised my kids with consciences, I don’t give up easily, and I own up to my mistakes.
And when I fall, and I often do, I can always come to the Father and know that He will love me anyway. He will wash me clean. He will lift up my chin and say, “Let’s try this again, shall we? This time, follow Me.”
Life is hard enough. I don’t want to pick the wrong side. I’m gonna have to serve somebody. We all are.
I want it to be Him.