You Can Do What You Want, But…
“Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:”
Many people have said, “I can do what I want, and nobody is going to tell me what to do.” These are the words of rebels. Rebellious teenagers often say this when they don’t want to listen to their parents. Rebellious believers say these words when they want to live their own life without anyone telling them what to do. Rebellious leaders make this statement when their pride has brought them to the point where they think nobody has the power to tell them what to do. The fallacy of this statement is that there is always God who can set you straight, but setting a person straight with this mentality is often not good for that individual.
It is sad that the people in the verse above never responded to the voice of God. They acquired the foolish and destructive mentality that they could do whatever they wanted. What they didn’t take into account was that God responded to their prideful actions by not listening to them when they prayed. “I can do what I want” mentality brings several observations from which we should learn.
First, everyone is accountable to someone. Nobody can really do what they want. Even God is held accountable by His Word. If God holds Himself accountable to His Word, why would you think that you can do whatever you want without anyone telling you what to do? Are you better than God? The fact that you think you can do whatever you want without any accountability only reveals your arrogance and your eventual downfall.
Second, everyone has free choice. Certainly, God does give the believer free choice. God never makes anyone do what He wants them to do. God does give you the freedom to choose and do what you want to do.
Third, free choice doesn’t absolve you from consequences. You can certainly do what you want to do, but there are always consequences to your free choice. Samson did what he wanted to do, but his free choice cost him his freedom, eyesight, and eventually his life. The prodigal son exercised his free choice to do what he wanted, but his free choice to turn against his father and to live his own life cost him his testimony, possessions, and his relationship with his brother. You can always do what you want, but your free choice to do what you want doesn’t stop the consequences from happening.
There are three cautions we need to take into account with our free choice. First, be careful with your free choice. With great privilege comes great responsibility. The greater the freedom you have to do what you want also brings greater consequences to every decision you make. Be very careful when you exercise your free choice.
Second, never get to the point where you think you can do whatever you want. Always keep yourself accountable. You are walking on dangerous grounds when you think you can do what you want and nobody is going to stop you. When you see yourself getting to this point, you would be wise to stop what you’re doing to readjust your perception of your freedoms.
Third, your decision affects others positively or adversely. What you choose to do always affects others. Be wise with your exercise of free choice so that you don’t hurt the direction and future of those you influence.