April 1, 2012

Daily Decisions

Researchers have determined that the average adult makes 35,000 decisions a day. With 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour day, that equates to a decision almost every other second! Of course, the vast majority of our decisions are acted upon with very little consideration. Technically, each physical step we take is a decision. In fact, our movements, thoughts, actions, and reactions are all products of our decisions. Should I sit? Should I stand? Should I raise my hand? Should I look left or right? Should I say something or say nothing? Should I eat this or would that be better? While most of our decisions do not have moral implications, we also choose between right and wrong daily. In addition, we make choices that will determine how effective our Christian witness is to the world around us. Decisions in these categories will have eternal consequences!

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 we find a very explicit list of things that we know will not be in Heaven: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Clearly, those who make a choice to do these things will have no part in God’s eternal Kingdom. There are other such lists throughout Scripture, such as Proverbs 6:16-19 and Galatians 5:19-21. These Scriptures offer guidelines that will direct in many of the decisions we need to make.

We need to be aware that the enemy of our souls will attempt to lessen the importance of decisions which may, in fact, be very decisive in our spiritual lives. For instance, he might pose the questions: “Does this really matter? Why is it such a big deal?” However, making right decisions regarding issues that impact our walk with God is tremendously important.

For example, some may wonder whether it is acceptable to develop a close friendship or relationship with someone who is not a Christian. The argument may be made that such a relationship would make it possible for the believer to witness to the unbeliever. In 2 Corinthians 6:14 we find these words, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” The Bible clearly states that a believer cannot walk in harmony with an unbeliever, for we read in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Just as water and oil do not mix, righteousness and unrighteousness are polar opposites. Rather than the believer helping the unbeliever, it is far more likely that an unbeliever will have an adverse spiritual effect on the believer. So, the Biblical principal of maintaining separation from the world will guide us to an understanding that we must maintain a distance from those who do not share our commitment to Christ.

Sometimes we face making a decision regarding a behavior that others suggest is allowable. For instance, some have asked, “Why can’t I drink just one glass of wine? I won’t get drunk.” We know the Bible states in the verses quoted above that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. However, Scripture also tells us, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Why would a Christian want any part of something the Bible declares is a “mocker,” regardless of whether doing so results in drunkenness or even impairment? In the United States, some jurisdictions deem it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol level of 0.08, but in other states the level is 0.10. Does that mean that an individual with a level of 0.08 is impaired in one location but not in another? Who is to say how much alcohol it takes to impair judgment?

Furthermore, we can point to countless men and women who were delivered instantly from a desire for alcohol. The very taste of what they enjoyed before being justified by faith in Jesus Christ became totally unappealing in a moment of time. The Scriptural position regarding consuming alcohol, along with the evidence of those who were delivered from any desire for it the moment they were saved, points to the conclusion that God wants us to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages.

At times, we face decisions that will impact the effectiveness of our Christian testimony. For instance, how should we use social media in a manner that best represents a Christian? We may compose an email, type out a text message, or prepare an online post, and then wonder if we should send or post it. As Christians, we want to choose to use email, text messaging, and online networking in a positive manner. Colossians 3:17 instructs, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Our decisions on what to post online for the entire world to see should be made carefully and in the context of holiness. We must consider how it characterizes us as representatives of Jesus Christ, along with how it portrays others. Social media certainly is included in the phrase “whatsoever ye do in word or deed,” and therefore should be used to glorify God and to encourage each other. Technology offers many ways to instantly spread the Gospel message, but using it in a way that glorifies God is a choice we must make.

Another example would be decisions that relate to the media we read, watch, or listen to. On occasion we may be surrounded by church-going friends, yet still need to make a choice contrary to the rest of the group concerning a specific DVD, program, or song. It may not be easy, but upholding our principles is necessary in order to maintain a close relationship with God. The Psalmist proclaimed, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” Our choices regarding what we see and hear matter!

Finally, at times we will face decisions that require finding God’s direction for our personal lives. During my college years, I remember trying to decide which program I should pursue. I was unsure of the direction that God would have me to go. As I sought the Lord in prayer, I never recall hearing an audible voice from Heaven providing direction. However, as time progressed doors began to open, and over time God provided a path. When we come up against a decision where we are unsure as to God’s direction, we should begin by looking into His Word. Be prayerful and willing to wait with God until the path is made evident. Remember, God’s timing is always perfect!

The enemy of our souls will attempt to lessen the importance of decisions which may, in fact, be very decisive in our spiritual lives.

We also should not be surprised if the enemy of our souls comes along at times and accuses us of making a wrong decision. That’s why John the Revelator described Satan as “the accuser of our brethren” in Revelation 12:10. We serve a patient and gracious God who understands that we are all works in progress. Just as we made a conscious choice to serve God, turning in a different direction requires a conscious choice. God will help us live as He wants us to if we ask Him and are open to His leading.

While we cannot pray 35,000 individual prayers each day, we can have a continual desire to please God that will guide us in every important decision.

apostolic faith magazine