THE CHOICES WE MAKE

October 3, 2019

God gives gifts, but it’s up to us what we do with those gifts. We can choose whether we use the gift wisely, or squander it. Solomon is an example of someone who asked for the right gift, but then made bad choices. When he began his reign as king over Israel, he loved God. After all, he had the example of his father, King David, who was a man after God’s own heart. “And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.” 1 Kings 3:3. Oops. He loved God but also honored pagan gods. Solomon had made a treaty with the Pharaoh and married his daughter. This wife was not Jewish and worshipped pagan gods. Take note: Never be unequally yoked. To make it worse, he married more than one pagan bride and these women influenced Solomon to sacrifice offerings and burn incense in high places. High places were where pagan worship and rituals were conducted. Had Solomon been faithful to God Almighty, followed his father’s example of his love for God, and rejected advice from pagans, his life would have been much better. Still, God gave him a choice. God came to Solomon in a dream and asked what gift he desired. “And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou has chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.” 1 Kings 3:6-10. Solomon said the right words and at this point in his life, he sincerely meant them. God was pleased and gave Solomon the gift he asked for. Solomon used his wisdom, but he also went the way of his pagan wives. He amassed a fortune and his fame spread to many nations. Unfortunately, he didn’t use his gift from God wisely. It matters who you take advice from, and Solomon chose to look to the world for guidance instead of God.

By the end of his life Solomon was an empty man. He had written many wise sayings, but didn’t listen to his own words. “Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? Or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” Proverbs 30:7-9. It’s been said “He who dies with the most toys wins”. The truth is, when a person dies, they leave the toys behind. Only those things done for Christ will follow us after death. The word “vanity” in this proverb means emptiness and worthlessness. Solomon came to his end an unfulfilled man. Is he any different than most of us? Solomon had earthly gain, but spiritual loss and that left him empty. He had a wonderful example of a Godly man from his father. David made many mistakes, but when those mistakes were brought to his attention, his heart was broken and he earnestly sought God’s forgiveness. Solomon didn’t learn from David’s example. What example are you giving to your own children?

Some of us have been blessed by having God-fearing parents, but what example do you follow? Do you ask them for advice, or do you look to people who may not have your best interest at heart? Solomon’s mother was a participant in David’s greatest sin, but she seemed to learn from her mistakes. All of us make mistakes but if we continue making those same mistakes, we end up empty like Solomon. Perhaps if Solomon had asked his mother, Bathsheba, for advice about who to marry, the pagan women wouldn’t have led him into the sin of pagan worship. If he had followed the example of his father, David, he would have sought Godly men to advise him and listened to them. Instead, Solomon took advice from people who just fed him what he wanted to hear. At a young age, he had professed his love for God, but his life reflected his rejection of God.

We all face choices. How many of us have professed faith in God, but then continued to make choices that dishonored Him? When faced with a decision we can see many options and get confused. Bad choices come from relying upon our own emotions and that becomes a bad habit. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6. These are wise words coming from a man who chose not to lean on the Lord. Even Christians make bad decisions. When a person only relies on their own understanding or feelings, that can lead to some very wrong decisions. Sometimes we’re too emotionally close to a problem to see the right choice. That’s when we need to seek advice from someone who loves God. You may be sitting in a prison cell today because of choices you’ve made. Make no mistake, prisons don’t all have bars on the doors. Sometimes we’re imprisoned in a life where sin weighs heavily upon us. God will never lead you into sin. You’re in this trouble because of your own choices. Instead of listening to Godly advice you continue to seek the counsel of people who have helped you into the mess you’re in. Perhaps you’re in an ungodly relationship but see no way out and are willing to compromise God’s truth for worldly sin. Maybe you’re actually in a prison cell making plans for what happens after your release. Are you taking advice from someone who loves God and cares about you? Could it be that you’re in the trouble you’re in because you’ve continually rejected that advice?

This would be a good time to honestly assess the choices you made to get you where you are today. Scripture is filled with examples of men and women who have faced choices. The ones who made carnal choices suffered. For example, Lot made a bad choice when he decided to move to Sodom. “Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.” Genesis 13:11. Lot and Abraham went their separate ways, but Lot chose what looked good, but in fact was a poor choice. He ended up living in Sodom where sin was rampant. When he chose to move to the plain of Jordan, he was tempted by how beautiful it was. After he learned of the sin there, he stayed by choice. That’s true for many of us. The lure of sin may look tempting at first, but if you choose to stay in that sin it’s a choice you make. The sin and evil in Sodom were overwhelming. Lot’s family was influenced by the wickedness around them. By staying, Lot was a poor example of a parent. Eventually, the sin became so bad that God had to destroy Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities. Lot’s family was given a choice. They could leave the place of wickedness and live, or stay and be destroyed.  You also have a choice. You can stay in the sin that’s destroying you, or leave it behind. Lot, his wife, and his two daughters made the right choice and left, but the lure of what they had left was too much for his wife. “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26. Lot’s wife looked back. Take heed. If you’re imprisoned by sin, you’ve made bad choices. Learn from the past and change. Even Jesus used Lot’s wife as a warning. “Remember Lot’s wife.” Luke 17:32. This was a warning for the final days but is good advice for all of us. If you don’t run from the sin that has trapped you, then you will be destroyed by looking back.

If you’re facing a choice in life, remember that someone cares about you. Maybe you need to listen to the parent whose advice you’ve rejected for so many years. If you’ve continually run into trouble in life, then you’ve chosen to listen to wrong advice. “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:7. Humble yourself and admit you’ve made bad choices. Go to the parent who loves you. Maybe it’s time to listen. If you’ve accepted Christ for salvation, but have been walking with Satan, you need to reestablish your relationship with Jesus. There’s no sin He won’t forgive. You need to repent. That means you need to change your mind about the mistakes you’ve made. Maybe you abuse drugs or have had an abortion. God is willing to forgive. Pick up your Bible and study His word. The Gospel of John reveals the love God has for you. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18. If you’re looking at the doors of a jail cell…whether literal or the ones we trap ourselves in with our own choices…turn to Jesus. Ask Him to show you the door that leads to true freedom in Him. Then ask Him to help you open that door and walk through it every day. “Remember Lot’s wife” Luke 17:32. Don’t look back.

The most important choice we make is whether or not to accept Jesus for salvation, but if you’ve been smart enough to accept His sacrifice, then He should guide your decisions. That choice should affect every other choice in life. When we come to Jesus a change should happen in our attitude and how we look at life, and make a change in our decisions. You cannot change yesterday, but you can allow Christ to help you change today and tomorrow. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17.  It’s not always easy to change. Not because we don’t want to but because the temptations in the world are strong and we keep holding on to the sins of the past. Giving in to temptation becomes a habit that’s hard to break. The time we spend rejecting Jesus can never be recovered, but we can move forward. Study Scripture and seek advice from people who serve the Lord.

Set your petition before God. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8. The problem is that most of us knock and seek our own sinful desires. When you pray, are you telling God what your will is and seeking it, rather than seeking God’s will? By doing that you will always fall back into the same mistakes that have imprisoned you. You may not realize it but someone is praying for you. Maybe it’s a parent, grandparent, friend, or even a stranger. Prayer changes situations….even yours. Seek God’s will.

The choices we make affect us and the people around us. Have your choices landed you in a bad situation? Do you continue to reject godly advice? It’s time to seek God and choose to serve Him.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

 

All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.