Wednesday, May 18, 2016

God-Honoring Choices Today... Better Life Tomorrow

"The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” Proverbs 4:18-19

I have a little proverb I live by. It’s not in the Bible, but it’s quite biblical in the sense that it’s totally based on the Bible’s teaching. It goes “God-honoring choices today, better life tomorrow. Selfish choices today, worse life tomorrow.”  Life isn’t about where you start, it’s about where you’re going.

The proverb writer also says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish:.” (Proverbs 29:18) The word “vision” is this verse refers to a “picture of a preferred future”, a sense of where and to what God is calling and leading you--to become or accomplish. If we have no idea who we are, where our life is going or who God is calling us to be in Christ;  If we have no “vision” – the Bible says we “perish.” The Hebrew word translated “perish” here doesn’t mean we cease to exist. It means we flounder and drift like a ship at sea with no rudder, through life.

“…the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble… Selfish choices today, worse life tomorrow.” 

Countless numbers of people have come to me over the years saying, “Pastor, my life is a mess!” Each time I say, “Okay, tell me your story. What have you been doing the past five or so years?” Ninety-nine times out of one-hundred their stories are filled with a string of unwise choices. They have no vision, no picture of where God is leading them or who He is calling them to become in Christ. They are floundering and drifting from day to day. So my response is always, “Okay, let’s talk about these five choices you’ve been making. Can you see how these choices are causing ninety-percent of your grief?” They key word in that question is “see.” Can they see it? Can they understand it?  Sadly, most respond in a way that communicates that they don’t. It’s like they want their life to change without them changing. For whatever reason they don’t make the connection between choices and consequences. So, they leave my office in the same condition as when they entered—stumbling in the darkness.

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel…” (2 Corinthians 4:4)  Oh how we need to pray for our friends who do not know Christ, that He would do what no man can do:  Open their eyes to see!

But for all who choose to follow Christ as Lord, what a different story that is! Disciples of Jesus have their eyes fixed on Him as the author and perfecter of their lives. (Heb. 12:2) Every area of their life is guided by a vision of becoming like Christ—in character and devotion to the Father. Disciples don’t drift through life—they press into it--letting go of what lays behind they press forward--onward and upward with Jesus. (Phil. 3:13-14)  They make the most of every opportunity. (Eph. 5:16) They face every trial knowing God is with them, for them and in them. (Josh. 1:9, Heb. 13:5) They live each day abiding in Christ (John 15) guided by the desire to someday hear their Lord say, “Well done good and faithful servant…” (Mat. 25:23) They count it all joy when they face trials of many kinds because they understand that seasons of testing produce godly character (James 1:2-4). And as a result of their daily choices to follow Christ, their lives grow brighter. They reap the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentles and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23) Without even realizing it—they become genuine, authentic, real-life-guiding light-examples for those around them (Mat. 5:14); Living testimonies to the grace-power of Christ (Acts. 1:8) —who works and shines through every clay jar that surrenders to Him as Lord. (2 Cor. 4:7-11)

“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” (Prov. 4:18) Or as I say it, “God-honoring choices today, better life tomorrow!”

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Until next time...