Summary: How does God guide us in the decisions we have to make? This sermon provides an outline of a Biblical model of guidance, using Colossians 3.
I don’t suppose many of you are old enough to remember the original TV Quiz Show, “Pick-a-Box”. It was hugely successful back in the very early days of television in Australia in the 1950’s and 60’s – so, yes, all the episodes were in black and white.
The big moments in “Pick-a-Box” came when the contestant who had got the questions right had to pick from several boxes on a wall and there would be either a terrific prize or some useless dud object in the box. It was a moment of great drama for many Australians at the time – what would the contestant decide? I guess more recently we have had the nightly decision by the winner of “Sale of the Century” about whether to take the prize they’d already won or come back the next night to try for a bigger one.
Decisions, decisions – life is full of the need to make decisions. Make the right decision – pick the right box – and you will end up a lot better off than if you make the wrong decision.
In “Pick-a-Box” the outcome was random. Despite being smart enough to know the answers and get to the point of making the decision, in the end the contestant just didn’t have enough information to be able to tell which was the best choice of box.
Sometimes we get choices like that in life and a lot of the things that happen to us in life do seem somewhat random. But most of the time we do have information to help us make our decisions – maybe not enough information to guarantee the outcome, but enough to help us to make a choice from among alternatives. It is then up to us to use the information we have and any other resources that might be able to help along the way, to make the best decisions.
• Some decisions are quite trivial – will I have a Magnum Classic or a Magnum Ego? Will I choose Optus or Telstra as my internet provider?
• Some are moderately important – will I give up eating ice cream like Magnums so that I don’t get overweight? Will I go out and play sport or spend my time on the internet?
• And some decisions are crucial for our life’s direction – will I get married? What career will I aim for? Will I obey the road rules when I am driving my car?
Phew, some big issues there! Because they can be quite daunting choices to make, some people seem to think that they can avoid making decisions and just drift along with life. What did those critters in “The Lion King” call it – akuna matata? Friends, that sort of attitude IS making a decision – it’s a decision to be unthinking about what you do in life, a decision to give in to the forces that are at work in the world for good or evil and let them rule over you. From my experience, far from meaning “no worries for the rest of your days”, akuna matata means nothing but trouble as those forces sweep over us and get us into an awful mess sometimes.
As Christians we have accepted that making our own decisions our own way, ignoring God in our lives, is not the way we want to live; we have turned to Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, accepting Him because He has accepted us, has taken us into His friendship, into His family; and as a result we have decided to follow Him.
This means that when we are faced with a decision we will want to make the right decision, the best decision, the decision that is consistent with us being followers of Jesus Christ.
The question before us tonight is, therefore, how do we know whether we are making the best decisions? How do we find and follow God’s guidance in our lives? We want to obey God’s will, but how do we know what His will for us actually is? Like the writer of the psalm that we read together, we call out to God:
“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my God and Saviour and my hope is in you all day long.” (Ps 25:4-5)
God Promises to Guide Us
The prayer of the psalmist is not a forlorn one, because God does promise to guide us. Later in psalm 25 we read that:
“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinner in His ways; He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.” (Ps 25:8-9)
Other verses that similarly promise God’s guidance are:
Proverbs 3:6 “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”