February 11, 2016
We all face decisions. Some of those decisions may seem very small, such as whether to wear a black suit and tie or a Polo shirt and shorts. The choice really depends upon where you’re going. If you’re going to a backyard barbecue, the suit would be out of place, but if you’re going to a job interview the Polo shirt and shorts probably aren’t the best choice. Experience tells us which is the better choice, but not all decisions are that cut and dried. A Christian should prayerfully base all decisions on God’s word. Jesus prayed. Even though He was God incarnate He still talked to God the Father about decisions. For instance, Jesus had many disciples, but had to choose just a few who would be very close to Him and learn all He had to teach. “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles:” Luke 6:12-13. Each one of those men had different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Even Judas Iscariot had a purpose. Perhaps if Judas had prayed he would have made better decisions.
Many of life’s bad decisions can be avoided by studying our Bibles and getting to know God better. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10. When we respect God we don’t want to go against Him. He loves us and gave us the whole Bible as a guide. Through diligent study and adherence to God’s inerrant word we can avoid making bad decisions. If you neglect studying your Bible, both Old and New Testaments, you’re making a mistake. We read of victories when men followed God’s instructions, but we also learn from their failures when they chose not to trust Him. We make wise decisions when we put God’s will before our own and honor Him in our actions.
There are consequences when bad decisions are made. Moses is an example of both good and bad decisions. He led the Israelites on a journey that should have been relatively short, but ended up taking years. He witnessed God’s power first hand when the Red Sea parted and trusted God to allow them to pass to safety, he saw the pillar of cloud which led them by day and the pillar of fire by night. Moses was in the presence of God on Mt. Sinai to receive the Law, which must have been an awesome experience. Yes, Moses was well aware of the power of God, but when it came to making an important decision he forgot to trust God. He had led the people to the Promised Land, then sent 12 spies to scout it out. They found giants there. Real giants, not just tall people. They were understandably intimidated, but they should have trusted God. Joshua and Caleb were ready to go and claim the land, but Moses made a bad decision. He listened to the majority opinion instead of God’s direction and left in fear of the giants rather than trusting God. Instead of entering the land that God had promised to them they wandered for 40 years. “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?” Numbers 14:11. If they had trusted God they wouldn’t have wasted 40 years wandering and would have received God’s promise. The decision to not trust God cost them dearly. What about us? We miss out on so many blessings because we also make bad decisions when our trust in God waivers.
Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who trusted God. They knew that God would be with them if they just trusted Him. Because Moses didn’t trust God’s promises, every person over the age of 20 would die in the 40 years of wandering, except for Joshua and Caleb. They would be allowed to enter the land because of their faith. Those two men made the right decision to trust God. After the Israelites finally entered the land God promised them, Joshua, whose name means “Jehovah is salvation”, called the people together and encouraged them to follow God, ending his speech with “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15. Those are wise words from Joshua.
When we make decisions do we ignore God’s word or do we honor God in our choices? It’s important to study our Bible in order to keep God first. The more we neglect reading and studying His word the easier it gets to just forget about it all together. “My Bible’s not going anywhere and I’ll read it tomorrow.” That’s a bad decision. If you don’t study you may be duped into a wrong belief and decide to follow a false teacher. Paul and Silas travelled to Berea and went into the synagogue to speak to the Bereans about Christ. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11. We also must search the Scriptures. If you don’t know what God’s truth is you run the risk of believing that all roads lead to Heaven, or that everybody worships the same god. Only the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is God Almighty. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and if you follow a cult that denies that, then you have been deceived. If you decide to follow a false teaching it’s because you neglect God’s word and don’t know the truth.
When you’re faced with a decision, turn to God’s word and prayer for guidance. When you choose friends or enter into a partnership with someone remember God’s word teaches us not to be unequally yoked. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” 2 Corinthians 6:14-15. If friends or business associates are not Christians they don’t have the Holy Spirit or God’s word as a guide for their way of life. More often than not the unbeliever will cause the Christian to compromise rather than the Christian influencing the unbeliever. Study God’s word to be sure you make the right decision about life. Don’t make a distinction between your Sunday morning, pew sitting life and how you act when at work or play. Decide to keep Jesus the center of your life and you can’t go wrong.
The lack luster life of a biblically illiterate Christian is evident in how many wrong decisions occur in that individual’s life. For instance, marriage is a very important decision in life. Let God lead in that decision. Divorce among Christians is as high as in the secular world. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”Ephesians 5:22. God has an order of things, but humans often ignore God’s advice. If the husband isn’t following Christ then it isn’t easy to submit to him. God’s word has not changed, but people seem to be moving away from honoring Him when making important decisions. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” Ephesians 5:25. A man who is committed to studying God’s word will make decisions that honor Him. A godly man will lead his family closer to God and away from worldly pursuits. Is it God’s word that holds your attention or the world? “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” Matthew 13:23.There is no more valuable inheritance you can give to your children than a solid foundation built upon Christ so that they will decide to follow Him in their lives.
If you find Bible study monotonous or boring you’ve allowed outside interests to interfere with your thought process. As following the world becomes more important to you than God, it becomes easier to make bad choices. The decision to skip a routine of devotional time or to neglect the daily reading of God’s word will have profound effects on the other decisions of the day. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. As you study, pray. When you pray for discernment you’ll find that God’s word comes alive and your understanding of Scripture is deepened. A good time for prayer and devotion is in the morning. That will help to set your thoughts on God and the rest of that day’s decisions will be made with God’s guidance. Without God’s guidance, believers are like a ship drifting on ocean currents with no one at the helm. They may find themselves drifting from one current to another void of any real direction. Christians need God at the helm in order to not drift away.
The most important decision we will ever make is the decision to follow Christ. Jesus is the Messiah, the Creator of the universe, the propitiation for our sins. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”1 John 4:10. God knew that Adam and Eve would make the bad decision to eat the forbidden fruit. That act would cause division between humans and God. Nothing surprises God and before He laid the foundation of the world He knew how He would the repair that separation. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, gave His life for us and only through His shed blood can we find salvation. He was crucified but arose on the third day and conquered death! Because He loves you He made this sacrifice for you. If you have accepted His sacrifice for your salvation, then it is time to put worldly pursuits aside and decide to follow Him closer. If you have never asked Christ for salvation, don’t put that decision off another minute. He offers the free gift of salvation, but it is your decision to accept it. It is an eternal decision.
Decide for yourself to turn from false gods and idol worship. Decide to follow Jesus for eternity.
God bless you all,
Ron & Nathele Graham
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All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.