A few years ago Cliff Richard brought out a new volume of memoirs. I read it and was disappointed. Two reasons: firstly I looked in vain for the chapter headed, "Mistletoe and Wine: What Was I Thinking?"
But more importantly it was the title of the book that I thought was a let-down. It was called, My Life, My Way. Somehow the emphasis didn't feel quite right. It seems to me that the history of the world is strewn with tragedy, betrayal, conflict, suffering and devastation because people have decided that they will do things "my way".
One of the most popular songs requested for funerals nowadays is Frank Sinatra singing My Way. As we commit loved ones to whatever awaits them beyond death is it really the best we can do to declare that they did things their way?
Advertisers tell us constantly that we are worth indulging ourselves, that we "deserve it", that we can have what we want and have it now. But I look across the globe and recognise that pursuing "my way" can only be done at a severe cost to others.
It may be that I waste resources that children in Africa are crying out for. Possibly I talk about time for me and ignore the needs of people around me. I am not free to live how I want. I live in a family, a community, a world and decisions I make affect others.
As Jesus began his earthly ministry, we are told by the gospel writers, he spent 40 days struggling with the way his life should be lived. The temptation was to pursue popularity, position and power. Instead he chose to be obedient to the call of God on his life.
Three years later when praying in the Garden of Gethsemane he knew that he was facing betrayal, arrest and execution. Surely this, of all times, was the moment to put his needs first. Instead we find him on his knees crying out to God, "Not my will but yours be done". And that has made all the difference.