(Eccl. 11:9) Should we follow our own way, or God’s way?

CLAIM: Solomon writes, “Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart” (Eccl. 11:9). Why would Solomon write this, when elsewhere he criticizes leaning on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5) and trusting in our own immoral intuition (Prov. 14:12)?

RESPONSE: This is qualified in the context. While we should rejoice in our lives, we should also remember that “God will bring [us] to judgment for all these things.” Thus it is wise to rejoice in our youth. God isn’t a cosmic cop, looking to ruin our pleasure. Have fun! But remember that this shouldn’t excuse selfishness and hurting others.