Life can be seen as a journey, a series of events, and life is also about decisions. As long as I am alive there will be in my life the constant need to make a decision. Added to this, we cannot sit on the sidelines, for not making a decision, is to make one. For example, if I pass on the decision to become diligent, I have often made the decision to become poor (Proverbs 6:10-11). If I opt out of pursuing wisdom, I have just made the choice to become a fool.
- “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters” (Luke 11:23).
In addition, the decisions we make are often in one to two categories:
- “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity… So choose life in order that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15,19).
- “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15).
- Over and over in Scripture and in both Testaments, there are only two basic choices, the path of sinners or the path of the righteous (Psalm 1:1-2), the broad way or the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14), the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) or the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), walking by the flesh or walking by the Spirit (Romans 8:5ff).
The Importance of Right Now
It does not take long to figure out where I am right now in my life, which path I am on, and which choices I am making or opting out of. Just examine your own life and heart and ask yourself, “Which list more accurately describes my life?”
|Works of the Flesh||Fruit of the Spirit|
|Immorality, Impurity,||Love, Joy, Peace,|
|Sensuality, Idolatry, Sorcery,||Patience, Kindness,|
|Enmities, Strife, Jealousy,||Goodness, Faithfulness,|
|Outbursts of Anger, Disputes,||Gentleness, Self-Control,|
|Dissensions, Factions, Envying,|
Looking Back with Regrets or Satisfaction
Bad decisions can affect us for a lifetime. In the Song “Cold Hard Truth” the singer George Jones said, “I am living and dying with the choices I made”. We need to understand that when we make a choice, we are choosing to live with that choice for the rest of our lives. There are also choices that we are choosing to live with for all eternity. In the Bible we do see times that people express their regrets:
- “And you will groan at your final end, when your flesh and your body are consumed: And you will say, ‘How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof! I have not listened to the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to my instructors! I was almost in utter ruin in the midst of the assembly and congregation’” (Proverbs 5:11-14).
Sadly, these are the words of an older person who had the opportunity when young to be around some very godly and wise people. This person had heard the truth, people had sought to give them good teaching and wise advice, but they had spurned it and as a result suffered the consequences. Now, later on in life they are really regretting that stubbornness on their part. Sometimes you will heard people regretfully saying something life, “I messed up my life way back then”. What young people need to realize is that for them “now” is “way back then”. The decisions we are making right now will determine whether or not we look back years later with regret or satisfaction on the choices we have made.
Choose Life Over Death: Deuteronomy 30:15
Will this decision bring life into my life or death. Will this choice bring be closer to God or move me farther away? Am I about to bring a blessing on my head or a curse? Will it add “life” to my life or take life away? Sadly, sometimes I see people in a marriage where they are taking life away from the relationship. They are not being the husband or wife that God wants them to be. They are opting out on their responsibilities. And often such a person just puts their head in the sand and hopes that others will stop pressuring them to do the right thing and that the storm will just blow over and everyone will forget about it. If my attitude in a marriage or any relationship is, “What is the minimum I have to do without them leaving me?” “How much can I get away with?” “How irresponsible can I be?” “How far can I push this?” You are opting for death and not for life.
Choose Life for Your Children: Deuteronomy 30:19
My decisions do not merely affect me and those around me, but I am affecting many generations to come with my current choices. If I remain faithful, then my children and grandchildren will hear the truth. But if I depart from God, then I am making the decision to be a stumbling block in their way (Matthew 18:7). The choice to depart from God is not only a choice to end up lost myself, but to take as many people with me to destruction as possible. Therefore, the wise person asks, “How will this affect others in my life?” “How will this affect my wife, husband, and my kids?” “How will this affect my parents?” “Will this cause anyone to stumble? Will this discourage others?” “Will this give Christians and the church a bad reputation?”
Choose God’s Wisdom Over Human Wisdom
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
- “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God” (1 Corinthians 1:21).
Choose the Spiritual Over The Carnal
- “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
- Beware of choosing the darkness, for you will become what you select. “To the pure all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15). Therefore, choose what is good, instead of what feels good at the moment.
Choose Commitment Over Convenience
- “But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property” (Mark 10:22).
- “But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was frightened and said, ‘Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you’” (Acts 24:25).
Choose Wise Advice Over The Easy Thing To Do
- “The way of the fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (Proverbs 12:15).
- Remember, the right and wise thing to do is in most instances the harder thing to do at the moment.
- Will this choice I am about to make result in peace between me and God? Or, will it bring guilt, doubt, confusion, remorse, drama, fear and shame into my life?
- “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).
That is, the wicked are always looking over their shoulder, trying to cover their tracks, erase their history, and are constantly wondering if the past is going to catch up to them. It is not enjoyable to live in fear of being exposed or found out. It is exhausting trying to put on an act and pretend you are someone other than the real you.
Choose to Glorify God: Colossians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31
I want God to get the praise that He deserves. I want people to see how great He is. I want to tell others about His accomplishments and His works.
Mark Dunagan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Beaverton Church of Christ | 503-644-9017