Summary: God gives us choices so that our life can lead to a good journey and ending, blessed and productive.
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
June 22, 2003
“Taking a Trip Out of God’s Will--Where Does it Lead?”
INTRODUCTION: How many of you have heard people say, “I didn’t have any choice in the matter?” Maybe you have made this statement yourself, “I didn’t have any choice.” When you think you don’t have a choice in things how does it make you feel? --powerless, defeated, hopeless, depressed??? We might not have any control over some things like a job lay off or storms and natural disasters or other fortuitous circumstances. I don’t think we realize how many choices we really DO have in our daily life.
Every day you make many decisions about things. You decide what to eat, what to wear, you decide what stores to shop at and you make long-term plans such as what kind of a job you want, where to go to college, what kind of car to drive, where to live, what to do in retirement, and where to go on vacation this year.
Look at this past week. What choices were presented to you and you look back and see that you made a pretty good decision? You say, “I’m sure glad I did that. That was a smart move. That was the best thing I ever did.”
What ones were a bad decision and you said, “I sure wouldn’t do that again” or “if I had known then what I know now, I sure wouldn’t have done that.” Our life is probably a mixture of both good and bad decisions. Today’s scripture speaks about our being presented with two basic ways to live our life. Today’s message from Psalm 1 is entitled, “Taking a trip out of God’s Will--Where does it Lead?” Let’s see what we can get out of this scripture.
1. Distorted Information: Sometimes people get the idea that if they decide to be a Christian they will never have any fun anymore. That God will deprive them of all good things. That they will always be poor, just barely getting by, always having their nose to the grindstone. A lot of people will say, “Well, the Lord doesn’t give you what you want but he will give you what you need.” Christianity is painted by some people as a barebones lifestyle. A really miserable way to live. Just barely getting by until we all get to heaven and then we will shout the victory.
One woman told me, “Oh, you don’t want to become a preacher. If you do you’ll live a horrible life. The people will treat you horrible. You’ll have an awful life.”
The devil presents us with many distorted views of what the Christian life is like. He uses even family and friends to present these distortions of the truth. We believe the lies of the devil and make our decisions based on inaccurate or incomplete information.
The psalmist begins this introductory psalm by saying,
“Blessed is the [person] who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers but his delight is in the law of the Lord.”
A paraphrase of this is “Oh the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God but they delight in doing everything God wants them to do...(The Living Bible, Ps. 1:1).
The Amplified Bible says, “Happy, fortunate, prosperous, enviable--is the person who walks in a different way from the world and the counsel and advice of people who don’t even know God.”
Who do you take your advice from? Who are you following and where are they leading you?
Many people surround themselves with people who do not give very good counsel or advice. Teenagers especially are susceptible to people they hang out with. Advice comes in many subtle and attractive ways. Scripture says that Satan even comes to us “masqueraded as an angel of light” (II Cor. 11:14) looking pretty good to us. I Peter 5:7 says that “the devil is also like a roaring lion prowling around seeking whom he may devour.”
Another scripture tells us that “the way of the transgressor is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). In contrast to that Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that [you] may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
So who do you believe? What choices are you going to make for your basic lifestyle? Will you try to find out God’s will for your life or will you decide to take a trip out of God’s will going it on your own?
God leaves the choice to us. He doesn’t force us to be a Christian, but all the time he wants us to plan our life’s trip in his will. II Peter 3:9 says that “he is patient with [us] not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.”