T H E C H O I C E S W E
M A K E
The Freedom to Choose and the Impact of our
Decisions
F. Wayne Mac Leod
Light To My Path Book Distribution
Copyright © 2020 F. Wayne Mac Leod
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the
written permission of the author. Unless otherwise indicated, all
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by
Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
CONTENTS
Title Page
Copyright
Preface
1 - Choice as a Function of the Soul
2 - Human Choice and the Fall into Sin
3 - The Freedom to Choose
4 - The Impact of Our Decisions and Commitments
5 - The Call to Choose
6 - The Guidance of Scripture in the Choices We Make
7 - The Leading of the Spirit
and the Decisions We Make
8 - The Counsel of Godly Believers
9 - The God Who Oversees Our Decisions
10 - Testing the Lord with Our Decisions
11 - Sin: The Rebellious Will
12 - Salvation: The Renewal of the Will
13 - Sanctification: The Surrender of Our Will
14 - Faith: The Strength to Follow Through
15 - Grace: The Freedom to Fail
16 - The God of Covenantal Promises
17 - The Resolutions of the Saints
About The Author
O
PREFACE
ne of the most basic freedoms God has given us is the freedom of
choice. This reflects His own character, for He is a God of choice
and commitment. We must never, however, take this freedom
lightly. The choice of Adam and Eve brought sin into this world, and we
have suffered the consequences ever since.
The decisions we make can have a dramatic impact on the shape and texture
of our lives. The course we take as a result can radically alter our
experiences and destiny.
Because the decisions we make are so important, the Lord has spared no
effort to help us in our choices. He has given us His Word and His Holy
Spirit to be our guide. He oversees our decisions and will graciously forgive
us when we fall short of His purpose.
The God who gave us this freedom, however, now calls us to exercise our
privilege. He who chooses us, now asks us to choose Him. Indecision is not
an option. Jesus declared that the one who is not with Him was against Him
(Luke 11:23). He told the church in Laodicea that because they wavered
between cold and hot, he would spit them out of His mouth (Revelation
3:15).
It is all too easy for us to sit back and let the Christian life happen. The
reality of the matter, however, is that if we want to grow in our relationship
with God, there are decisions we will need to make. While maturity in our
walk with the Lord Jesus cannot be accomplished apart from the work of
His Spirit, the decisions and commitments we make will also have a
powerful impact on our fellowship and intimacy with Him.
As with any topical study, this is not the whole picture. Of course, there is
more to the Christian life than the decisions we make. I believe firmly that I
the need God’s Spirit to lead and direct me in the things I do. Without the
work of Jesus Christ none of our decisions would ultimately matter. I also
believe that were it not for the fact that God first loved me, I would never
have chosen to love Him. He takes the initiative, but I must also respond to
Him. Isnt this how it is in any relationship? I may choose to love my wife,
but she also chooses to love me in return.
Because God has chosen to love us and reveal Himself to us, we now have
the privilege of responding in kind to Him. God has laid out before us a
wonderful purpose for our lives. He now expects us to open our heart and
accept that purpose. For many years, I wrestled with being a pastor. God
continually placed me in pastoral situations. I remember the time I finally
said to the Lord, “Okay Lord, I accept this role.” From that time forward
things changed in my heart. God gave me a deeper heart for His people, and
I found that wherever I went He placed people who needed pastoral concern
and care. God had chosen a task for me, but I needed to willingly accept
that role before I could experience the fullness of His blessing on it. I
needed to choose what He had chosen for me.
In essence, the Christian life is about surrender to the will and purpose of
Christ. What is surrender? Surrender is a willing and free choice to accept
God’s purpose for my life. This is what God is calling us to do. He is asking
us to choose Him because He has first chosen us.
In this study we will examine what the Bible has to say about our freedom
to choose and reveal what Scripture has to say about the choices and
decisions we make. May the Lord be pleased to use this study to enable us
to make the decisions necessary so that we can become all that God intends
us to be for His glory.
F. Wayne Mac Leod
T
1 - CHOICE AS A
FUNCTION OF THE SOUL
he question of the human will is one that has been discussed from
the beginning of time. Ancient Greek philosophers debated the
definition and limits of the human will. Early church theologians
also examined this question from a Biblical perspective. It is not my
purpose to explore these historical arguments. As a devotional writer, my
goal is to simply consider the nature of the human will and its impact on our
walk and relationship with God.
Let’s begin with some definitions. The Bible teaches that human beings
have a soul. The soul is distinct from the physical body but makes up who
we are as individuals. The soul is that part of us that is capable of emotion,
reason, and commitment. Let’s consider what Scripture has to say about
this.
The Emotions And Passions Of The Soul
In Genesis 34 we have an example of the feelings of Shechem for Jacob’s
daughter Dinah:
[8] But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son
Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be
his wife. (Genesis 34:8)
Notice that Shechem’s soul longed for Dinah. In other words, he felt a deep
attraction and passion for her in his soul.
Jesus felt deep emotion in His soul as He approached of His death.
Speaking about the time Jesus spent with His disciples in the Garden of
Gethsemane, the gospel writer Mark says:
[33] And he took with him Peter and James and John, and
began to be greatly distressed and troubled. [34] And he said to
them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here
and watch.” (Mark 14)
Jesus told His disciples that day that He was feeling deep sorrow in His
soul. Emotions are a function of the human soul.
The Reasoning And Memory Of The Soul
The human soul is also capable of reason and understanding. Consider the
words of the Psalmist in Psalm 139:
[14] I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm
139)
The soul of the Psalmist contemplated the nature of the human body and
understood that it was “wonderfully made.” His soul marveled at the
complexity of the work of God.
According to Lamentations 3, this reasoning soul is also capable of
remembering details.
[19] Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the
wormwood and the gall! [20] My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me. (Lamentations 3)
The soul is the place where memories are stored, and thoughts processed.
The Commitments And Decisions Of The Soul
There is another function of the human soul. It is in the soul that
commitments and decisions are made. We will examine this in more detail
in this study but let me give a few examples of this from Scripture.
In Genesis 27 we read:
[27:1] When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he
could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him,
“My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” [2] He said,
“Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. [3] Now
then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out
to the field and hunt game for me, [4] and prepare for me
delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may
eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” (Genesis 27)
These verses recount the desire of Isaac to bless his son Esau. Notice
particularly that this decision to bless was a function of his soul “that my
soul may bless you before I die.” Isaac felt compassion in his soul for his
son and reasoned that he wanted to bless him. The decision to move
forward with this purpose was a function of his soul.
In Deuteronomy 26 the Lord commanded His people to walk in obedience
to His commandments with all their heart and soul.
[16] “This day the LORD your God commands you to do these
statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them
with all your heart and with all your soul. [17] You have
declared today that the LORD is your God, and that you will
walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments
and his rules, and will obey his voice. (Deuteronomy 26)
What is of note here is that the Lord commanded His people to obey with
all their soul. In other words, there was a commitment they needed to make
in their soul. That commitment was to walk in absolute obedience to the
Lord and His purposes for their lives.
The Psalmist understood this commitment of the soul toward God when he
said:
[167] My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.
(Psalm 119)
The decision to keep the testimonies of God was made in the soul of the
Psalmist. He felt a passion and love for the testimonies of the Lord in his
soul and committed himself to walking in those ways.
Not all decisions made in the soul are for good. Consider the teaching of the
Lord in Luke 12. In this passage the Lord Jesus spoke about a rich man who
was making plans for his future.
[19] And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods
laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ [20] But
God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you,
and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ (Luke
12)
Notice the connection here between the soul and the decision to relax, eat,
drink and be merry. This decision was made in his soul without any concern
for God or His purpose. Ultimately, that decision would cost the man his
life. The soul is both emotional and reasoning and it in this soul that
decisions and commitments are made.
It is this capacity of the soul to make decisions and commitments that is of
concern for us in this study. We have this God-given ability to choose
between one action or another. It is also within our capacity to determine
our commitments and priorities in life.
We exercise this freedom of choice every day. We wake up on the morning
and determine to get out of bed. We then move throughout the day making
decisions based on the commitments we have made in our soul about our
life and its priorities. I am sitting in front of my computer writing this
chapter as an act of my will. I believe God has called me to this ministry
and so I dedicate time to studying and writing. There are other things I
could be doing. In fact, I have been overwhelmed with other things of late
but in my soul, I see this as a priority, so I commit to making time for it.
Our soul feels emotions and can retain and process facts but these things in
themselves are insufficient. The soul sifts through those emotions and
thoughts and turns them into decisions and commitments. It determines the
course of action it will take based on what it feels and understands.
As we have seen, not all the decisions and commitments of the soul are
righteous and holy. Sin exists because of the decisions and passions of the
human will. It was the decision Adam and Eve to disobey God that brought
a curse upon this earth. Our decisions will change the shape and texture of
our life and relationship with God.
For Consideration:
What is the soul? What is the function of the human soul?
To what extent do the decisions of the soul impact our life and walk with
God?
What are the priorities of your soul?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that He has given us the ability to feel, reason and decide.
Ask Him to give you grace to make the right decisions in your life.
Do you know someone who had made bad decisions in life? Ask the Lord
to minister to them and bring them to a place where He becomes the
priority.
G
2 - HUMAN CHOICE AND
THE FALL INTO SIN
od created human beings with an emotional and reasonable soul.
That soul can form opinions, make decisions and choose between
one action and another. Our soul can make commitments and set
priorities based on what it understands and feels. This places us under great
responsibility. Who among us can say that we have always made the right
decision? The passions our soul feels can often lead us astray if not held in
check. The reasoning of the soul can be based on an incomplete or faulty
understanding of reality.
The commitments our soul makes can be life transforming. They can also
be devastating. We have an example of this in the Garden of Eden as
recorded in Genesis 2.
[15] The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of
Eden to work it and keep it. [16] And the LORD God
commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree
of the garden, [17] but of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall
surely die.” (Genesis 2)
Notice in Genesis 2:15-17 that the Lord placed the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil in the garden and forbade Adam to eat from it. The question
we must ask ourselves is this; if God did not want Adam to eat from the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil, why did He put it in the garden?
By placing the forbidden tree in the garden, God was giving Adam and Eve
a choice. God honoured the decisions of the soul He had created in Adam
and demonstrated the kind of relationship He desired with His creation.
God gave Adam a soul that could feel emotions, reason and make deep
commitments. It is the soul that makes relationships meaningful. The soul
feels passion and desire for another. Its capacity to reason enables us to
process needs and respond. It enables us to grow in knowledge and
understanding of our partner. It helps us understand them and their
responses toward us. It also enables us to make a loving and lasting
commitment to them. Without the soul, our relationships would be
mechanical.
Consider the engine of a car and how each part relates to the other and
works together to enable the vehicle to move from one place to another.
Each part functions in harmony with the other but the engine has no soul.
There is no passion, understanding or willful commitment.
God could have created human beings like an engine, but He chose to give
us a soul and a will as a function of that soul. In doing so, He designed a
very different type of relationship. He introduced a relationship where
passions, understanding and commitment were essential ingredients.
By giving us a soul, God showed us that He was not looking for a
mechanical relationship where we did what we were programmed to do.
Instead, He was looking for a relationship where His people willingly chose
to love Him. A relationship in which there was passion, understanding and
willing commitment.
God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden to give
Adam a choice. He gave him the possibility of disobedience. He gave him
the opportunity to walk away from Him. True love and devotion require a
choice. I am free to walk away but I choose not to. I am free to make
something else a priority, but I willingly commit myself to God instead. I
prefer to suffer loss rather than be unfaithful. I do so willingly and with a
joyful heart.
The fact that God gives us a will and the ability to choose, makes our
relationship with Him very personal. It also gives us the possibility of
choosing another path. This is what happened in the garden of Eden.
Tempted by the devil, Eve picked the fruit from the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil, ate it and gave it to her husband to eat. She did this
knowing full well that the fruit of the tree was forbidden. Deceived by the
serpent, Eve made a conscious decision to disobey. God did not stop her. He
allowed her to make that decision even though it meant a break in their
relationship.
The decision to disobey God was a function of the soul. Adam and Eve
chose to walk away from God and His purpose. While I have the ability to
disobey, I am also accountable for my actions and responsible for the
decisions I make. I will suffer the consequences of my bad choices. This is
what happened to Adam and Eve. The curse of God fell on the world. Their
relationship with Him would not be the same. The intimacy they
experienced with each other suffered. Creation groaned under the weight of
their sin and rebellion. The decision Adam and Eve made that day changed
the course of the world and required the intervention of a Saviour to restore
humanity’s fellowship with God.
God created us with a soul that could feel, reason and make deep
commitments but that soul is also capable of making bad decisions as well.
The result of those bad decisions can be devastating. The soul that was
designed to enable me to enjoy a personal and intimate relationship with
God can also rip me from His arms. The human soul with its ability to
choose is a powerful faculty. It can lead me into the paths of truth and
righteousness or into the very pit of hell itself. How important it is that we
use this will correctly for the shape and texture of our lives depend on the
decisions we make.
For Consideration:
Why do you suppose God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in
the Garden?
What is the difference between a “mechanical” relationship and a personal
relationship? What role does the soul have to play in this?
How do the decisions we make impact our lives? Give an example of a
decision that changed your life.
Can we choose to walk with God and obey? What is sin?
How is the shape and texture of our lives changed by the decisions we
make?
For Prayer:
Thank God that He created you with a soul that feels, reasons and makes
willing commitments.
Ask God to help you to make the right decisions for your life. Commit
yourself to walking with Him and His purpose.
G
3 - THE FREEDOM TO
CHOOSE
od has created us with the ability to choose. In the last chapter,
we saw that this choice makes our commitment to Him very
personal. We see evidence of this freedom of choice throughout
the Scripture.
Consider, for example, the decision of Moses in Exodus 17:
[8] Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. [9]
So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and
fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill
with the staff of God in my hand.” [10] So Joshua did as Moses
told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur
went up to the top of the hill. [11] Whenever Moses held up his
hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand,
Amalek prevailed. [12] But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they
took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron
and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on
the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of
the sun. [13] And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people
with the sword. (Exodus 17)
As Moses led the people of God through the wilderness toward the
Promised Land, they came to the region of Rephidim where they were
confronted by the Amalekite army. These Amalekites were unwilling to
allow the Israelites passage through their land and saw them as a threat.
Moses considered the situation and made a decision. He told Joshua to
assemble and army and stand up against their enemy. Moses went up on a
hill with the staff of God in his hands. As long as he kept that staff raised
high in the air the Israelites defeated their enemies. That day God honoured
the decision of Moses to wage war with the Amalekites and He granted
victory to Israel.
That day Moses decided to face his opponents head on. He chose not to run
from them but to confront them. He knew that God had called them to the
Promised Land and so He determined to face the foe in the power of God.
Not all decisions are God-honouring. As the Israelites continued their
journey through the wilderness they began to grumble about their living
conditions. After considering their hardships the people made a decision:
[14:2] And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and
Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we
had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this
wilderness! [3] Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to
fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a
prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” [4]
And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go
back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14)
That day the people decided to choose a new leader and return to Egypt. As
a result of this decision the Lord struck the nation with a great pestilence
(Numbers 14:11-12). Were it not for the choice of Moses to intercede for
the nation, God would have destroyed them. Numbers 14 is filled with
choices. The people chose to rebel against the purpose of God. God chose
to destroy them. Moses chose to intercede for them. God chose to relent and
forgive. These decisions were life-changing decisions that would impact the
course of Israel’s future.
After listening to the complaint of Job about his suffering, his friend
Eliphaz responded:
[15:1] Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: [2]
“Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill his
belly with the east wind? [3] Should he argue in unprofitable
talk, or in words with which he can do no good? [4] But you
are doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation
before God. [5] For your iniquity teaches your mouth, and you
choose the tongue of the crafty. [6] Your own mouth condemns
you, and not I; your own lips testify against you. (Job 15)
Notice particularly that Eliphaz accused Job of making a bad decision
“you choose the tongue of the crafty” (verses 5). In other words, Eliphaz
believed that Job chose to give free vent to his complaint without showing
any respect for God and His purposes. He felt that the words Job chose to
speak dishonoured God. Eliphaz believed that Job should have chosen His
words more carefully.
Jesus expressed a similar thought when He said:
[36] I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account
for every careless word they speak (Matthew 12)
We have the freedom to express our careless words but will give and
accounting for what we say in the day of judgement.
The writer of the book of Proverbs rebukes the people of his day because of
the choices they made:
[29] Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear
of the LORD, [30] would have none of my counsel and
despised all my reproof, [31] therefore they shall eat the fruit of
their way, and have their fill of their own devices. (Proverbs 1)
The people of that day chose not to fear the Lord. They decided to despise
the counsel and reproof of God. The result was that God would give them
over to their evil ways. In the New Testament the apostle Paul said
something very similar when he wrote:
[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their
unrighteousness suppress the truth. [19] For what can be
known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to
them. [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal
power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever
since the creation of the world, in the things that have been
made. So they are without excuse. [21] For although they knew
God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but
they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts
were darkened. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
[23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images
resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping
things. [24] Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their
hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among
themselves, [25] because they exchanged the truth about God
for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the
Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1)
God revealed Himself to the Romans, but they chose not to honour Him.
Instead they gave their bodies over to the lusts of the flesh and to bow down
to idols. Because of their decision, God gave them over to their flesh and its
ways. Ultimately, they would be consumed by their own desires and perish
in their sin.
It is clear that we have choices to make in this life. Those choices will affect
the shape of our lives here on this earth and in the life to come.
Understanding the importance of the decisions we make, God pleads with
His people in Deuteronomy 30 to make the right decisions:
[15] “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and
evil. [16] If you obey the commandments of the LORD your
God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God,
by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and
his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and
the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are
entering to take possession of it. [17] But if your heart turns
away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship
other gods and serve them, [18] I declare to you today, that you
shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you
are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. [19] I call
heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set
before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose
life, that you and your offspring may live, [20] loving the
LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for
he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the
land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to
Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30)
God set before his people the way of life and the way of death and pleaded
with them to “choose life.” He gave His people the dignity of choice but
warned them of the consequences of making a wrong decision.
As Israel’s military commander Joshua came to the end of His life, he
called the people of God to assemble before him and spoke these words to
them:
[14] “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity
and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served
beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. [15] And
if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day
whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in
the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in
whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will
serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24)
Joshua challenged the people of Israel to throw out their gods and set their
eyes to serve the one true God of Israel. Notice how he offered the people a
choice – “if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom
you will serve” (verse 15). He let them know that they were free to choose
the gods of the Amorites or any other false god they would consider. He
revealed to them, however, his personal decision “as for me and my
house, we will serve the LORD” (verse 15).
What do these verses teach us? It is quite clear that as human beings we
have been created with the ability to make decisions. We have the choice to
stand up to our enemies in the strength of God or walk away. We must
decide whether to honour God with our words or complain against His
purpose. We must determine whether we walk in obedience or despise
God’s reproof and counsel. We have the obligation to choose between life
and death. We are to establish in our hearts whom we will serve –whether
that be the God of Israel or the gods of the nations. God placed all these
decisions before His people in Scripture.
God sets a choice before us and asks us to make a decision. Will you choose
to stand strong or run? Will you choose to honour Him in word and deed or
will you reject His word for your own lusts? Will you choose God or this
world? These are decisions we must consciously make every day. We have
not always made the right decision. We have often fallen short of the
standard God has set out for us. We must take responsibility for the
decisions we have made. We must live our lives realizing that because God
has created us with a soul that is capable of making decisions and
commitments, we will be accountable to Him for the decisions we make.
The choices we make in life will be reflected in the fruitfulness we
experience in life and the intimacy we experience with God.
For Consideration:
Have you ever faced obstacles in your life? What choice did you make
when facing those obstacles? How did that choice affect the outcome?
The apostle James speaks about the tongue as being one of the most
difficult parts of our body to control. Can we choose the words we speak?
How does our choice honour or dishonour God or those around us?
Have you ever surrendered to temptation in your life? What role did your
freedom of choice have to play in this?
Can we choose to walk in obedience to God and His word? Have you
always chosen this path?
How important are the decisions we make each day? What impact do those
decisions have on the shape and texture off our lives?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord for the grace to stand up to the obstacles in your life. Ask Him
for the wisdom to choose what is right.
Ask God to give you a more conscious awareness of the choices He is
asking you to make on a daily basis.
Do you know someone who has made bad decisions in their life? Take a
moment to pray that God would open their eyes to these decisions. Ask
Him to give them the willingness to confess these decisions to Him. Ask the
Lord to give them the willingness to learn from Him and to choose life.
T
4 - THE IMPACT OF OUR
DECISIONS AND
COMMITMENTS
he choices we make can have a life-changing impact on our lives.
There are many illustrations of this in the Bible. We have already
considered the effect of the decision of Adam and Eve in the
Garden. Let’s take a moment to consider more examples of the impact of
choices made by some key Bible characters.
Let’s consider first the choices made by King David in his affair with his
neighbours wife, Bathsheba. We are quite familiar with the story of how
David was up on the roof of his house when his neighbours wife came out
to bathe. David found himself attracted to Bathsheba’s beauty and made a
decision.
[4] So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to
him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself
from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. [5] And
the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am
pregnant.” (2 Samuel 11)
When Bathsheba announced that she was pregnant with David’s child,
David had further decisions to make. He chose to deceive Bathsheba’s
husband into thinking that the child was his. He called him from the
battlefield and encouraged him to go home to his wife. When Bathsheba’s
husband refused to do so, David commanded that he be put in the front of
the battle in the hopes that he would be killed. When that happened, David
then married Bathsheba and took her as his wife.
David’s decisions were in direct opposition to the purpose of God for his
life. The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to rebuke David. Listen to the words
of the prophet:
[10] Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your
house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife
of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ [11] Thus says the LORD,
‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house.
And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to
your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of
this sun. [12] For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing
before all Israel and before the sun.’” (2 Samuel 12)
The punishment for David that day was three-fold. First, God told him that
he would be constantly at war with his enemies. Second, He would raise up
evil against his house. Finally, God would take his wives and give them to
his neighbour who would sleep with them in broad daylight.
As we examine the life of David after these choices, we see clearly the
fulfilment of the prophecy of Nathan. David would become a king with a
lot of blood on his hands from fighting with the enemies of Israel. In fact,
the great dream of David to build a temple would have to be forfeited
because of the blood on his hands. As David came to the end of his life, he
shared his vision for the construction of a temple with his son Solomon.
Listen to the words he shared with his son in 1 Chronicles 22:
[7] David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to
build a house to the name of the LORD my God. [8] But the
word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much
blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house
to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me
on the earth. (1 Chronicles 22)
David would never see the construction of the temple. By making the
decision to sleep with his neighbours wife, David would sacrifice one of
his life’s greatest desires.
Beyond this, however, David’s life would never be the same after his affair
with Bathsheba. His family was plagues with problems. The child born as a
result of this illegitimate union between David and Bathsheba died (2
Samuel 12:15-18). David’s son Amnon was attracted to his brothers
daughter Tamar and raped her (2 Samuel 13). Absalom, the father of Tamar
murdered his brother Amnon for raping his daughter. The result of this
murder was that Absalom was forced to flee Jerusalem and go into hiding.
After years of feeling that his father had never forgiven him, Absalom come
to hate his father David. This hatred became so intense that Absalom
conspired to overthrow him as king. As an act of distain for his father,
Absalom set up a tent on the roof of the palace and slept with his fathers
concubines (2 Samuel 16:20-23).
David’s choice to sleep with Bathsheba had devastating consequences for
himself and his family. His life and family would never be the same again.
In Acts 4 we read how the Spirit of God was moving in the lives of the
believers. The work of God’s Spirit in those days was so powerful that
people shared everything they had. Acts 4 tells us that there were no needy
people among them:
[34] There was not a needy person among them, for as many as
were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the
proceeds of what was sold [35] and laid it at the apostles’ feet,
and it was distributed to each as any had need. (Acts 4)
This work of God’s Spirit moved the believers of that day to go as far as to
sell their lands and homes and bring the proceeds to the apostles to be
distributed among the needy. Ananias and Sapphira were among those early
believers moved by the Spirit of God to sell their land. We read their story
in Acts 5.
After selling a piece of property, this couple kept back a portion of the
proceeds for themselves. This act was perfectly legitimate. No one was
forcing these believers to give up everything. The problem, however, was a
decision that the couple made in their hearts. They decided to deceive the
church into thinking that they were giving the full price of the sale. They
wanted the their fellow believers to think they were giving everything when
it was only a portion of the sale price.
This was a decision that couple made together. When they brought their
money to the apostles, however, the Holy Spirit revealed to Peter the truth.
He confronted Ananias about his decision to lie to the church. The result of
this lie was that Ananias was struck dead by the Spirit of God.
Three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened to her
husband. Peter asked her if they had sold their property for the amount
given. When she too chose to lie about it, she was also struck dead and
buried beside her husband (Acts 5:7-10)
Ananias and Sapphira decided to deceive the church. That decision was
made freely and deliberately. The consequences of their decision, however,
was fatal. They would both die a very tragic death because of the wrong
choice.
Let me examine one more example of the consequences of our decisions.
The book of Daniel describes the period of time when Israel was living in
exile under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar decided to
train some of keenest youth of Israel and enlist them in his service. Among
those men was a man by the name of Daniel.
Part of the training routine for these young men was a particular diet. This
diet, however, was contrary to the Jewish food law and as such would defile
the Jewish men who were eating it. Daniel, as a true man of faith, made a
decision as he entered this training:
[8] But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with
the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he
asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
(Daniel 1)
God gave Daniel favour with the chief eunuch and he allowed Daniel to eat
only vegetables and drink only water. After ten days on this diet, Daniel’s
appearance was better than all the others who participated in the king’s diet.
Daniel decided to honour God in this matter and God granted him favour
and blessing.
In time, Daniel would prove his value and be promoted to a position of high
honour in the government of the nation. This aroused the jealousy of other
officials who decided to do all they could to find fault with him and bring
him down. The only way these officials could find to harm Daniel was in
regard to his faith in the God of Israel. They devised a scheme to ask the
king to make it illegal for anyone to pray to anyone but the king himself on
pain of death. When Daniel heard this, he determined to continue praying
regardless of the consequences.
When the officials accused Daniel of breaking the law, the king was forced
to throw him into a lion’s den. Daniel accepted the punishment and was
handed over to the lions. God, however, protected Daniel and shut the
mouths of the lions so that he was safe throughout the entire night.
When the king went to see what had happened to Daniel and discovered
that his God had protected him, he made the following proclamation:
[25] Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and
languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to
you. [26] I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people
are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the
living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be
destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. [27] He
delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven
and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the
lions.” (Daniel 6)
King Darius decreed that all peoples, nations and languages of the earth
were to honour and fear the God of Daniel. He declared Him to be the true
and living God. This was an incredible declaration from the lips of a pagan
king. By means of royal channels the testimony of Daniel and the power of
His God was declared to the entire dominion of King Darius.
How did this declaration come about? It was the result of decisions made by
Daniel. A decision not to defile himself with the king’s food. A decision to
never surrender to the worship of any other God but the God of Israel. A
decision to risk even death to be true and faithful to his God. Those
personal decisions would have an impact on the entire nation. Because of
those decisions, the God of Israel would be declared the true God
throughout the world.
The Lord God has created us and given us the capacity to make decisions.
The decisions we make will have an impact on the course our lives take. As
you stand before the temptation of the devil, you have a decision to make
that will impact your life forever. Will you surrender to the temptation and
walk the path of evil or will you resist? What course your life takes will be
determined by that decision. David’s life would never be the same after he
sinned with Bathsheba. His vision of a great temple was lost that day.
Ananias and Sapphira’s life came to an abrupt halt after they decided to lie
to the church. Daniel’s decisions to be faithful, however, although he
suffered greatly, was a means to great blessing. His determination to honour
God, placed him in positions of influence and authority. Through his life
and testimony, the fame of the God of Israel would spread to the entire
world.
It is a great honour to have the ability to make decisions in life. With this
great blessing of choice, however, comes great responsibility. Will we make
the right decisions?
For Consideration:
Could God have stopped David from sinning with Bathsheba? Have you
ever had a time when God kept you from falling into sin? Is God obligated
to stop us from sinning?
What were the consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba?
The decision of Ananias and Sapphira led to their death. Take a moment to
consider the consequences of the decisions you have made in life.
Does making the right decision mean that we will not have troubles?
Consider the decisions Daniel made. What troubles did that bring him?
What were the results of these right decisions?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord to help you to understand that He is not obligated to keep you
from making bad decisions, nor is He to blame for the consequences of
those bad decisions.
Ask God to forgive you for the bad decisions you have made in life.
Ask the Lord to guide you and give you strength to determine, like Daniel,
to honour Him in the decisions you make in life.
T
5 - THE CALL TO CHOOSE
hroughout the Scripture, the Lord God calls us to exercise our
privilege of choice. One of the most important decisions we will
have to make in life is whether to follow the Lord or pursue our
agenda.
Standing before the people of his day, Joshua challenged them to choose the
God they would serve:
[14] “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity
and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served
beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. [15] And
if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day
whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in
the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in
whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will
serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24)
The people of God needed to make a decision. Would they walk in the
purpose of the Lord or would they choose another god? According to
Joshua, they were free to make the decision they wanted, but there would be
consequences for making the wrong decision.
In Deuteronomy 11, Moses told the Israelites that the Lord was setting out
two options for their lives:
[26] “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a
curse: [27] the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the
LORD your God, which I command you today, [28] and the
curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your
God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you
today, to go after other gods that you have not known. [29] And
when the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are
entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on
Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. (Deuteronomy
11)
God set before Israel a blessing and a curse. What the people would
experience depended on the decisions they made. If they chose to obey the
commandments of the Lord, they would be blessed. If they chose to
disobey, they would experience His curse. The implication here is that the
people of Israel had a choice to make.
This choice becomes even clearer in Deuteronomy 30:
[15] “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and
evil. [16] If you obey the commandments of the LORD your
God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God,
by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and
his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and
the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are
entering to take possession of it. [17] But if your heart turns
away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship
other gods and serve them, [18] I declare to you today, that you
shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you
are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. [19] I call
heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set
before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose
life, that you and your offspring may live, [20] loving the
LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for
he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the
land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to
Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30)
God set life and death (blessing and cursing) before His people. He gave
them a choice of path to take. Notice in verse 19 how the Lord then called
on His people to make a decision. He pleads with them to “choose life.”
God is calling for an act of the will. He is calling for His people to make a
heartfelt decision to follow after Him and experience the blessings He
wanted to shower on them. This decision, however, would not be forced on
them. They had the freedom to walk away from God and choose the path of
disobedience and death.
The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who did not choose
this path of life and blessing. Speaking of those who chose to resist the path
of godly wisdom the writer of Proverbs said:
[28] Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they
will seek me diligently but will not find me. [29] Because they
hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, [30]
would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof,
[31] therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have
their fill of their own devices. (Proverbs 1)
Here the writer describes a people who chose not to fear the Lord and walk
in His ways. The result of this decision was that they would “eat the fruit of
their own ways.”
This same call is extended in the New Testament. John, the gospel writer
tells us why he wrote his account of the life of Jesus Christ:
[30] Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the
disciples, which are not written in this book; [31] but these are
written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son
of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
(John 20)
John wrote his gospel so that those who heard the story of the life of Jesus
would believe and have life in his name. What does it mean to believe? I
like to define belief as putting our whole weight on something. The person
who believes holds nothing back but places his or her full confidence in the
object of their belief. There is an element of choice in belief. Will we place
our trust in what we hear or will we doubt? Will we surrender to the truth
presented to us or will we reject it and walk away? John wanted to present
the fact about the life and death of the Lord Jesus and bring each reader to a
place of decision. Would they trust the facts and place their full confidence
in Jesus or would they walk away from him? He called for a decision.
What was the central message of the Lord Jesus? Mark 1 tells us that He
preached that the Kingdom of God was at hand and challenged people to
repent and believe the good news of the gospel:
[14] Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee,
proclaiming the gospel of God, [15] and saying, “The time is
fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe
in the gospel.” (Mark 1)
Jesus taught that He was the Messiah who was to come and that those who
believed in Him and the work He had come to do would be saved from their
sin and have eternal life. Jesus demonstrated that He was the Messiah in
different ways. Speaking to the people in John 14, He said:
[10] Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father
is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own
authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. [11]
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or
else believe on account of the works themselves. (John 14)
Notice what Jesus is saying here. He reminded His listeners that the words
He spoke were from the Father. He also told them that the miraculous
works He did were also evidence of the work of the Father in Him. He then
called on the people of the day who heard His words and saw His works to
decide what they would do in response. He encouraged them to make a
commitment to believe.
[11] Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else believe on account of the works themselves. (John 14)
Jesus called for a decision—believe that I am from the Father? Jesus
presented all this evidence to the people of His day so that they could make
an informed decision. Like the gospel writer John, He presented all the fact
and called for a response of belief.
Standing before the people of Israel and the prophets of Baal the prophet
Elijah spoke these words:
[20] So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the
prophets together at Mount Carmel. [21] And Elijah came near
to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping
between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow
him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not
answer him a word. (1 Kings 18)
In those days the people of God were tempted to follow after the pagan god
Baal. Elijah rebuked them for this and called those who stood before him to
make a decision between one or the other. “How long will you go limping
between two different opinions?” he asked. God expected that they make up
their mind. Would they follow Him or would they follow Baal? They could
not live in the middle.
Jesus made it clear that we must decide whom we will serve. We cannot
serve two masters. We must choose one or the other:
[24] “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the
one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and
despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew
6)
The apostle James reminds us that a double-minded person is unstable in all
his ways (James 1:8). He goes on to challenge the double minded to break
with their indecision and submit to God.
[7] Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he
will flee from you. [8] Draw near to God, and he will draw
near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your
hearts, you double-minded. (James 4)
Double-mindedness is a sin that needs to be addressed. The cure for double-
mindedness is to make a decision about the direction we were going to
follow. In this case, James challenged his readers to submit to Christ and
turn from everything else.
Jesus speaks about double-mindedness in Revelation 3. He describes it as
being lukewarm—neither cold or hot:
[15] “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would
that you were either cold or hot! [16] So, because you are
lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my
mouth. (Revelation 3)
The Lord Jesus told the church of Laodicea that they were lukewarm. He
went on to say that He wished they were either cold or hot. In other words,
he wished that they would make up their mind. Were they for Him or
against Him? Would they serve Him or resist Him? This luke-warmness
was worse than being totally cold. The greatest damage to the testimony of
the church is done by those who have never made a firm commitment to the
Lord Jesus and His Word. They claim to be Christians, but they also love
the world and its ways. They waver between the Lord and the world. This,
according to Jesus, was so offensive to Him that He would spit these
believers out of His mouth.
Luke-warmness, double-mindedness and indecision are not to be taken
lightly. These are sins from which we need to repent. Jesus had this to say
about those who could not decide who they would serve:
[23] Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does
not gather with me scatters. (Luke 11)
Are you with Christ or are you against Him? You can’t sit on the fence in
indecision. If you do not choose Christ and put your full confidence in Him,
you are against Him. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot continue to
limp between two opinions? Scripture calls us to declare our allegiance and
warns us that if we are ashamed of Him and His words than He will be
ashamed of us:
[26] For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him
will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory
and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9)
This call to choose the path we will take is one we must all make. We must
decide whether we will serve God or follow the world and its ways. This is
a daily decision we must make. Each circumstance and trial that comes our
way will challenge that decision and call for a renewed commitment. What
is certain is that each of us must choose. Luke-warmness and double-
mindedness is not an option in Scripture.
For Consideration:
Does God give us the freedom of choice?
What is the heart of God for us? Why doesn’t God force absolute obedience
in everything?
John wrote his gospel so that his readers would believe. Jesus preached and
performed miraculous signs to that people would believe. What keeps us
from accepting their evidence?
What is the sin of luke-warmness and double-mindedness? How does this
sin damage the testimony of the church today?
Can we follow Jesus if we are undecided and double-minded?
For Prayer:
Ask the Lord to forgive you for the sin of luke-warmness and double-
mindedness. Ask Him to give you the grace to devote yourself completely
to Him.
Do you know people around you that have never fully committed
themselves to Christ and His ways? Ask God to challenge them about
making a firm commitment to follow after Him alone.
H
6 - THE GUIDANCE OF
SCRIPTURE IN THE
CHOICES WE MAKE
aving created us with the ability to choose, God now expects that
we exercise this privilege. Many of the decisions we make will
have a dramatic impact on our lives and the lives of those around
us. The shape and texture of our lives depend, in large part, on the decisions
we make. This is not something we can take lightly.
What we need to understand is that the Lord God who created us with the
ability to choose, also promises to guide us in the decisions we make. We
are not left to ourselves in this matter. One of the very first ways in which
God guides us in the decisions we make is by providing us with His Word
in written form.
Listen to what the apostle Paul said about the Scriptures:
[16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for
teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in
righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete,
equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy)
Notice what the apostle told Timothy about the Scriptures. Scripture has
been inspired by God and is useful for reproving, correcting and training.
The Word of God has been given so that we might be equipped for the work
God has called us to do. In other words, God has given us His Word to
show us how we are to live and serve Him on this earth. It is the guidebook
for life and faith.
If we want to know how to live, we need to examine the Scriptures. If we
want to know truth, we need to study what God tells us in His inspired
Word. The Word of God forms the foundation on which all our decisions
are made.
Listen to the words of the psalmist in Psalm 73:
[24] You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will
receive me to glory. (Psalm 73)
The psalmist found great comfort in the fact that He did not have to make
the choices he made without the counsel and guidance of the Lord God. As
he lived his life making one decision after another, he had the assurance that
the Lord God would guide him in the choices he made.
Psalm 119 speaks powerfully about the guidance of the Word of God in the
choices we make. The Psalm begins with these words:
[119:1] Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in
the law of the LORD! (Psalm 119)
Notice that the Psalmist said that those whose way was blameless were
blessed. He explains how this blamelessness could be achieved in the
second half of the verse. Those who walk in the law of the Lord walk
blamelessly. In other words, if we want to know how we should walk, we
need to study the Scriptures. The Word of God is our guide in how to live in
a way that pleases the Lord and brings blessing. Only as we keep our eyes
fixed on the commandments of God can we walk shamelessly:
[6] Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on
all your commandments. (Psalm 119)
In Psalm 119:9 the psalmist asks the question: “How can a young man keep
his way pure?” In other words, how can a young man or woman make the
right decisions in life? Notice the response:
[9] How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it
according to your word. [10] With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments! [11] I have stored
up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
(Psalm 119)
The way to make right decisions in life is to live our life according to the
Word of God. The Word of God needs to form the basis for every decision a
young man or woman makes. For that to happen this young man or woman
needs to store up the words of God in their heart.
What does it mean to store up the words of God in your heart? In part, this
implies reading, studying, and learning the principles of Scripture. The
Scriptures need to become part of our life. We need to allow the teaching of
Scripture to penetrated deeply into our heart and mind so that when we are
faced with the need to decide between various courses of action, we will
understand the purpose of God for our lives and walk accordingly. You
cannot make the right decisions in life is you are not reading and studying
the Scriptures. We need to store up the word of God in our heart so that we
do not sin. Scripture is our guide in the decisions we need to make.
The psalmist understood the importance of the Word of God in the
decisions and choices he made each day. In fact, he describes the Word of
God as a lamp for his feet.
[105] Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
[106] I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your
righteous rules. (Psalm 119)
Have you ever had to walk in the darkness? When we cannot see where we
are going, we risk stepping on something or tripping over an obstacle in our
path. The psalmist saw the Word of the Lord to be a lamp for his feet on the
path of life. It revealed the obstacles and sins to be avoided. It showed him
how he was to live and the principles by which he was to govern his life. By
walking according to the principles of God’s Word, he was able to make the
right decisions. He swore and oath to himself that he would walk in the
truth of Scripture and let it be his guide in the decisions he made each day.
The decisions the psalmist made in life were not always wise. In fact, in
Psalm 119:67 he speaks of how he went astray.
[67] Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your
word. [68] You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
(Psalm 119)
Notice how the psalmist found his way back when he went astray “but
now I keep your word.” In other words, he found his way back to the right
path when he looked to the Word of God and allowed it to be his guide. He
pleaded with God in the very next verse to teach him his statutes so that he
would be able to keep on the path of righteousness and experience the
blessing of the Lord.
Consider the prayer of Jesus for His disciples in John 17.
[13] But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in
the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
[14] I have given them your word, and the world has hated
them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the
world. [15] I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but
that you keep them from the evil one. [16] They are not of the
world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the
truth; your word is truth. (John 17)
As the Lord Jesus prepared to return to the Father, He told the Father that
He had left them His Word. That Word caused the world to hate them. It
guided them in how to live and that lifestyle was not the way of the world.
By following the teaching of that Word Jesus left, these disciples were like
light in the darkness. They confronted the sin and evil of their generation
and were hated for it.
Notice in verse 17 how Jesus prayed that the Father would sanctify His
disciples in the truth and then makes the statement: “Your word is truth.”
What was Jesus praying here? He was asking the Father to use the Word He
had left His disciples for the purpose of making them more holy. He is
praying that the truth He left His disciples would guide them in the
decisions they made and transform their lives as they chose to believe and
walk in obedience.
The Scriptures we have are God’s means of directing us onto the path He
has laid out for us. The Word of God is our guidebook for life and faith. If
we want to know what we are to believe, we need to study the Scriptures. If
we want to know how to make the right choices in life we need to reflect on
the teaching of the Bible.
God has given us the privilege of choice in life. This privilege brings with it
a tremendous burden of responsibility. Wrong decisions can have
devastating consequences. This is why the Lord also has miraculously
preserved the Scriptures for us. This word is filled with teaching and
instruction. It tells that stories of men and women who have gone before us.
Some of these individuals made bad decisions. We see the result of these
decisions in their stories. The Scriptures that God has passed on to us today
are given to us to guide us in the decisions and choices we make in life.
God does not leave us to choose without also giving us some guidelines,
examples and instruction. If we want to make the right decisions we must
be guided by the Word of God.
For Consideration:
Why has the Lord God given us the Scriptures?
Can you make wise decisions in life without the Scriptures?
Do you make the reading and study of Scripture a regular part of your
weekly routine? What is the difference between studying the Scripture for
knowledge and studying for how to live?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that the Scriptures contain the purpose of God for our lives.
Thank Him for the teaching and illustrations of the lives of men and women
of faith that help us to be wise in the decisions we make.
Ask the Lord to give you a deeper passion to study and know the truth of
the Scriptures.
Ask the Lord to forgive you for times when you made decisions that were
contrary to His purpose as laid out in the Word of God.
T
7 - THE LEADING OF THE
SPIRIT
AND THE DECISIONS WE
MAKE
he Lord does not leave us to make our decisions alone. We saw in
the last chapter that He has preserved His Word in written form so
that we could have a guideline for how to live. Even those who
walk in obedience to this Word, however, find themselves in situations
where choosing between one course of action or another is still very
difficult.
As a young man in Bible School, I was faced with the decision of what to
do with my life. I felt the call of God to full-time service but wasn’t sure
what that implied. I knew that the Scriptures called me to be a servant of
God, but there was nowhere in those Scriptures that told me what my
ministry would be or where I would exercise that ministry. The Bible gives
us general principles, but often we need more direction for the specific
details.
I don’t have time in this study to go through the details of how the Lord led
me to be a foreign missionary on the islands of Mauritius and Reunion.
Suffice it to say that the decision was not one that I made rationally nor was
there a chapter and verse in the Bible that said, “Wayne, go to Mauritius.”
What I can say, however, is that the Lord guided that decision and made it
quite clear that this was the path I was to take.
The leading of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is mysterious but
there is no doubt that God not only directs us by means of His written word