A Matter of Choice

Posted on: November 16th, 2014

You cannot be in two places at once, nor can you support opposing forces or views at the same time. It becomes a matter of selecting what we think or believe is best for us. We have a choice Sunday mornings; we can assemble with the Saints, go fishing, or sleep in, but we cannot do all three at the same time. I can believe the Bible’s teaching about Jesus, the Muslim’s view of Jesus, or deny Him altogether, but I cannot believe all three at once.

Choices often present themselves as either/or moments because we cannot have or do both. Perhaps it is a lack of time or a scheduling conflict that makes us choose. Maybe the choices are so different and opposing they cannot be done together. For whatever reason, we all have frequently been in this position.

I also doubt any of us can remember the first time we had to pick between this and that. It usually happens early in life when parents tell us “no”. They began by teaching us about life’s dangers, right from wrong, and how to make good choices. Do you recall the first time your dad or mom said, “Don’t touch; it’s hot!” or “Tell me the truth?” Most likely not, but their early efforts helped mold who you are today.

Did you ever want two candy bars or toys and dad said, “Pick one”? His answer was not about danger or right and wrong, and it was not even about showing you who is boss. It was a chance for him to teach you something about willpower and the fact you cannot always have everything you want.

The Bible is a book about right and wrong choices, and they all come down to either serving God or Satan. It began when God gave Adam and Eve law and then the Devil came along and said something different. As a result they had to choose between doing right (Divine Will) or wrong (Satan’s will). Sadly, they made the wrong choice, and from now every responsible person has sinned against God by disobeying Him. As Paul said, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

We also know we cannot go back and reverse a decision or its fallout once it is made. Can a drunk driver undo the harm he caused in an accident? Can you take back hurtful words and outbursts of anger? We may have to live with the physical results of our sins, just as David did when he took another man’s wife.

As devastating as earthly results can be, the real and lasting toll is what sin does to us spiritually. It separates us from God, makes us the servants Satan, and no matter what we do we still are unprofitable. Think about it for a moment, in sin, one has no hope or enduring value. Even if we can do a few good deeds to help in an earthly way, they do nothing to aid us eternally. It is the idea of once lost always lost, if we do not have help from a higher power than us. Thankfully, God gives us a second change to get it right.

We need to pay attention to what God says about good and bad choices by looking to the Bible for His Help. Joshua told Israel to “choose this day whom you will serve”, and they had two basic choices. They could either follow the Lord who had delivered them or the idols of people whom they had conquered. The choice should have been easy since God had done so much for them, but they often choose poorly.

Is it any different today between God and man? God tells us what He wants us to do, He warns and encourages us to make the right decisions, and yet most turn their back on Him (Matt. 7:13-14). Some reject or corrupt His message by not believing in and following the Bible (John 12:48). The Lord has done so much for us there is no excuse to turn against Him, but unfortunately many do so anyway.

Time and again God warns us about the many ways in which choosing is between right and wrong. Jesus said “You cannot serve God and money” (Matt. 6:24) and He also stated “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:31-33). There is also a choice between family and God as seen by the Lord’s remarks in Matt. 10:34-39. Some love the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43) and others want earthly pleasure more than the joy of heaven (2 Tim. 3:1-6). It makes no sense for us to reject God’s second chance to do right by turning our back on Christ or by choosing sin over righteousness (Rev. 21:8).

Terry Starling