My Way vs. God's Way


Whenever I listen to the beautiful music of I did it "My way” by Frank Sinatra or others, I have mixed feelings. I LOVE the TUNE and I can listen to it repeatedly, but as for the lyrics, I wish they were different and focused more on honoring God rather than focusing on our human achievements. The lyrics of "My Way" song is diametrically opposite to the gospel.  In the Bible we see abundance of examples of people who at one time had the "My way" attitude and at other times, they did it "God's way."

In the book of Daniel in the Bible, we learn about a king in Babylon with the name Nebuchadnezzar. In chapter three, we learn that this king made a huge gold statue of himself and demanded from the people to worship the image of gold with this enforced law: "Whoever does not fall down and worship will be immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace." (Daniel 3:6) Some political leaders tend to have large egos, but Nebuchadnezzar was a narcissist.  He would have sung the song "I did it MY way" with exuberance.  At a later time though he was forced to fall down on his knees with brokenness before the almighty God and with genuine repentance, he was transformed and at a later stage in his life he did it "God's Way."  "At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me." (Daniel 4:34-36)

Some people assume that Frank Sinatra was the one who wrote the lyrics of that song since he made it famous. In reality, the lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to the music of the French song "Comme d'habitude" composed, and written in 1967 by Claude Francois. Paul Anka's English relics are not a translation of the French song, but written by Paul Anka to be sung by Frank Sinatra. Here is what Paul Anka wrote about the song.

"At one o'clock in the morning, I sat down at an old IBM electric typewriter and said, 'If Frank were writing this, what would he say?' And I started, metaphorically, 'And now the end is near.' I read a lot of periodicals, and I noticed everything was 'my this' and 'my that'. We were in the 'me generation' and Frank became the guy for me to use to say that. I used words I would never use: 'I ate it up and spit it out.' But that's the way he talked. I used to be around steam rooms with the Rat Pack guys – they liked to talk like Mob guys, even though they would have been scared of their own shadows."
Sinatra's daughter said the following about this song and her father:
"Although this work became Frank Sinatra's signature song, his daughter Tina Sinatra says the legendary singer came to hate the song. "He didn't like it. That song stuck and he couldn't get it off his shoe. He always thought that the song was self-serving and self-indulgent." 
Over the years many famous people have sung this song including Elvis Presley and the Three Tenors (Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras). Frank Sinatra was in the audience and the three tenors honored him because of his association with the song. One of my favorite versions of that song is by IL Divo which is sung in Italian, a language that I do not know.  The best by far for me is Andre Rieu's along with his orchestra where the music was played with no lyrics. As you see, I like IL Divo and Rieu versions because I do not get bombarded by the lyrics.

In May 2016, in one of my letters to our prayer partners, I wrote a paragraph about the song "My Way" and wondered if any of my friends who is gifted in poetry can write God honoring words for that beautiful music. To my amazement from the responses of my friends, I found that it was not only me who was disgusted with the lyrics. I found out that several God honoring songs were already written and sung by various people.

For instance Suzanne Baresich sang the song "I did it God's way not my way." Although the recording is not professional, the words are good and I encourage you to listen to it. Then a friend of mine in Holland brought to my attention another song on the internet sung by a man with a beautiful voice and wanted to remain anonymous. In this song, you do not see the man but your see the lyrics on the screen. I encourage you to watch and join in singing this beautiful song. Here is another song I found on the internet:  "I did it God's way" sung by two men at the funeral of Mary Dunn. Still another rendition of the song "God's way" by Bill Bivens.
Then a friend of hours, Heather Jephcott, in response to our prayer partners' letter,  wrote for me the lyrics of a song: "We did it God's way" describing the journey of her family. Since she sent it to me, I have sung it several times with the music of Andre Rieu in the background.
May we do it God's way.

Something Better 
One of my favorite songs that usually gets sung during the Christmas Season is "Mary Did You Know?" I love that song because it moves the attention from Mary to Jesus.  I wonder if someone might get inspired to write a song with the "My Way" tune describing how Jesus did it God's way. This song could revolve around Philippians 2:5-11.
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,  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."
It could include the following six stanzas:
1. Jesus willingness to leave the Father in heaven and come to our planet to be born as a helpless baby and to be fully man and fully God. He showed us what God is like and he did it God's way.  
2. For thirty three years he lived in daily obedience to the Father and earned that perfect righteousness that met God's absolute demands. He did it God's way.
3. He was tempted to do it the Devil’s way but he resisted and went all the way to the cross and was accused with all our filth and sin and he did it God's way.
4. He rose from the dead and demolished the biggest weapon at the disposal of the devil - namely, our fear of death. He did it God's way.
5. After the resurrection he passed the baton to the Holy Spirit who empowered the church to expand around the world. That was God's way.  
6. He will come back to earth as the holy warrior and  judge. Every knee will kneel before him and he will be recognized by everyone that he is God. He will do it God's way.
If God has gifted you with creativity in poetry, I would love to receive from you the lyrics of this new song describing how Jesus did it God's way.

Dr. Nabeel Jabbour