Summary: Life demands that we make many choices, but only one is the most important choice.
About the most difficult thing that any of us has to do, on a regular basis in life, is to make decisions. And some of those decisions can be more, or less, difficult, sometimes even depending on the day. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to decide which size coffee and what we want in it at Tim Horton’s. At other times, we can quite easily make decisions that might be life-altering.
However, without question, one of the greatest abilities that separates us from all the rest of God’s creatures is our ability to weigh factors, to recognize different alternatives, and then to make a decision and to implement an action plan toward the successful accomplishment of that decision. As we look back in our lives, we’ve made decisions about where to be educated and what program to pursue. We’ve made decisions about where to seek, or to accept, employment. We’ve made decisions about whom to marry, where to live, whether to buy or rent our homes, whether to lease or purchase a vehicle, what colours to paint various rooms in our homes, or to decorate them with other than paint, what priorities to place on the use of the funds available in our families, how to spend vacation time- the decisions have been many that bring us to who and what we are here today.
Many of these decisions have been difficult decisions- that difficulty may not show right now, but at the time they were made, they were tough. I remember labouring over the decision of what program to take when I attended my first years at university- and I remember poring over the various program catalogs to try to get some clarity on where I best fit. I remember the incredible difficulty in making the decision to alter that decision and to change from U of M to Ambassador College. Those were tough decisions. And there have been many more like them over the years since.
From the beginning, people have had to make decisions. Adam and Eve had to make a decision- a choice- to obey or disobey God, and we know the choice they made, and can recognize rather clearly something of the repercussions that have flowed, even to us, from that initial choice of serving self rather than God.
As God worked with ancient Israel, many times He called on them to make a choice. One most notable time was as they were about to enter the Promised Land.
Deut. 30. 15- 20- from this, we can learn several notable lessons about choices and decisions. We learn that there are preferred choices to be made- that all choices are not necessarily equal. We learn that the one who gives the choices can have one that he or she feels is the best to be chosen. However, we, also, learn that the one offering choices can freely offer the opportunity to someone to make a less wise choice. We learn, too, that there ARE effects that will flow from the choice that is made, and sometimes the effects can be incredibly great or unbelievably devastating. Not all decisions carry such weight, as we know- whether you choose the lamb or the steak from the menu at the restaurant is not likely going to be as potentially devastating or beneficial as whether you choose to submit to God or not!
Throughout the Wisdom Literature, there is the call to choose- and to make good choices.
Ps. 25. 12- when we choose God, God will instruct us in the way that we have chosen. One choice leads to some positive and very great benefits. Once we choose God, He roars into action to support that choice and to bring increasingly good results from it.
Prov. 1. 28, 29- several verses which talk about the cause and effect relationship between choices or decisions that are made. God doesn’t see all decisions as equally good. This is what we’re being ‘fed’ in our Canadian pluralistic society. The idea is basically that all decisions are basically the same in their level of ‘goodness’ and that we have to consider, heavily, ‘what is right for you’. Scripture does not back this kind of idea, but instructs us, even, in choosing a way of thinking that is more soundly godly. We can feel out-of-step with society, and that’s the way it ought to be. We’re told to not get in there and roll around in the society. We’re told not to love the things of the world. There will be difference between the Christian and the non-Christian, and we ought not feel badly because that is so. We have Christians, today, who are trying to justify bad choices in moral issues, for instance- don’t do that. All lifestyles are not equally acceptable, equally loving, equally beneficial to a society. That’s just the way it is and Christians have to stand up, with spine or back-bone, and accept that, rather than trying to simply blend in and not be noticed in the society. We are, after all, the salt and the light of the world. Jesus didn’t say that everyone is the salt and the light of the world!