Spirit of Grace Ministries
SOGM
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

 

The Easy Decisions

Decisions

by Dennis Pollock

Every person's life is filled with decisions that must be made on a daily basis. Some are big, some are small, some call for great deliberation, others not so much. For the Christian some decisions are greatly simplified; in essence God has already made the decision for them.

Decisions spring from the values and convictions that we hold or do not hold. All that we believe, value, and hold dear are going to play an enormous role in determining whether we choose path A, B, or C, whether we lean toward easy ways that require little effort or more difficult courses that demand years of strenuous exertion. Change a man's values and you will change his decisions. Values do not pop into our hearts out of nowhere. We formulate them over time, through various means. Some hold tenaciously to values that have come to them as a result of their own painful history. Perhaps they were betrayed by people they trusted, and now trust no one.

Many are strongly influenced by their parents. If Mama said it, that's good enough for me. Some people become part of a group that quickly conforms them to the group mentality. Many take on the common values of their culture. If it's hammered home time and again on television, if it's approved and endorsed by all the beautiful people, it must be right.

Unlike most people, Christians are not at liberty to formulate their own unique and personal values. To receive Jesus Christ is to receive His Word. He comes to us in a package deal: Jesusand the Bible. Apart from the Bible we cannot know who Jesus is, nor can we know what He demands. There are many versions of Jesus. The secularists, the new-agers, the Muslims, and many other groups all have their own version.

The only version of Jesus that saves us and brings God's grace into our lives is the version of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Of course this is perfectly reasonable since these men knew Him intimately, far better than people who opine about Him many centuries or millennia after the fact. This makes it absolutely imperative that those who would follow Jesus embrace His word, the Bible for what it is: the inspired word of God which, as Paul puts it, "is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…" (2 Timothy 3:16). 

Bound by the Truth 

And when we receive Jesus and accept His word as being divinely inspired and perfect, we surrender the luxury of formulating our own values and convictions on many things. (Not everything, but much – the Scriptures leave certain things to personal preference, but on other things they clearly do not!) We are given a whole boatload of values, convictions, and views on what is good and what is bad, what is honorable and what is despicable.

When a man writes a novel he is totally free to make up everything: plot, characters, conversations, and descriptions. The only limit to what goes into the book is the author's own imagination. Does he want the heroine to have flaws or be without blemish? Should the actiontake place in an inner city in America or on the isle of Jamaica? He is totally free. Whatever he decides, there will be no editorial policeman come and arrest him for choosing the wrong setting or characters.

How different from the man who is writing historical non-fiction. He does all sorts of research, reads books on his topic by the score, and checks and double checks to get his facts straight. He does not have the luxury of making anything up, as does the novelist. It is not his job to make things up. It is his task to discover the facts and portray them in an interesting and insightful manner. He is bound by the truth.

Thus saith the LordSo it is with the Christian who wants to live a life pleasing to God. It is never his task to create his own morals, formulate his own convictions, and accumulate his own unique values. These things have already been created for him. All he has to do is to open his Bible and begin to read, trusting the Holy Spirit as his guide. Jesus tells us, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed" (John 8:31). Abiding in the Word of God certainly involves reading it, but it also means taking God's thoughts, views, and values as our own. We do not start out this way. In Isaiah God says, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways" (Isaiah 55:8). The minute you are born again through faith in Jesus, and open your Bible to read, the Holy Spirit is at work forming convictions, which will lead to a total life transformation. Paul writes, "You have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" (Colossians 3:10). His thoughts and ways become ours. 

The Christian and Sex 

Let us consider the area of sexuality. Many people struggle with sexual relationships – when is it OK to live together? Should we sleep together after just two dates? Should I be sleeping with John when I am still dating Bill? Of course many don't struggle at all. They just let their feelings be their guide (or their god, to be more precise). But Bible believing Christians (and there are no other type) have no need to wrestle with these issues. These questions have been definitively settled by the express commands of Scripture. In Hebrews we read: "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).

Those who are Christians have the decisions about their sexuality already decided for them. They do not need to think long and hard about it. They don't need to read books and question the experts about it. They don't need to check and see how their friends are handling their sexual lives. A quick check with the Scriptures reveals two things: 1. You are to stay abstinent until you are married (with marriage consisting of a man and a woman), and 2. Once you are married, enjoy your spouse sexually, have children, and limit the expression of your sexuality to only your spouse.

In the area of marriage, the Bible doesn't tell a man whether he should marry Susan or Debbie or Janet. This question must be settled through prayer, wisdom, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. But God does give His children one guideline in His Word. We are told: "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14). In another place he writes that a widow "is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:39). If a believer feels strongly attracted toward someone who has no interest in or passion for the Lord Jesus, there is no need for counsel or consideration. The believer is forbidden by God to marry the unbeliever. This part at least is the easy part. Whether Jill or June, or Betty or Belinda will be the right wife for you will be a little more difficult.

There are far too many values and morals in the Scriptures to list them all, but one concept Christians find tougher to apply than most is in the area of forgiveness. The theme of forgiveness is so prominent in the New Testament, that the moment we are sinned against any Christian who knows anything about the Bible and life in Jesus will immediately know what he must do. We can no more refuse to forgive than we can rob banks or steal car stereos. We are flatly commanded to forgive those who sin against us – whether friends, enemies, strangers or family. As we contemplate relating to that person who has wronged us, any decisions we make must reflect this concept of forgiveness.  

It's not rocket science 

In short, many decisions of our lives are very easy decisions, in terms of knowing the choice we must make. They are not always easy to implement, but there is no need for confusion, or long sessions of wrestling with what to do. In these easy decisions there is no need to pray for guidance; indeed prayer about which path to take is an act of rebellion. Imagine a man praying about whether to rob a bank on Friday or wait until Sunday. He prays with great fervency, calling for clear guidance from the Holy Spirit. Should the robbery take place on Friday, when there is more money in the bank, or on Sunday when nobody will be there to hinder his work? Of course if any of us heard someone praying such a prayer, we would immediately tell him, "What in the world are you praying about? God's Word has forbidden you to steal – period! There's no need for prayer here. 

Some people try to receive guidance by opening their Bible randomly and placing their finger on a text. This is supposed to be God's direction for them. But this is foolishness and isn't far short of witchcraft. Here is a better method for you. Open your Bible at Genesis and read through Revelation. Determine by the power of the Holy Spirit to live by God's commands and to start making His ways your ways.

To make good decisions we must take this attitude: the Bible is the final authority on all matters of which it plainly speaks. It supersedes culture, it supersedes family, it supersedes tradition, it supersedes profit, it supersedes our own feelings, it supersedes our insecurities, it supersedes our dreams, it supersedes comfort, it rises higher and takes precedence over all that is within or that is without. To love Jesus and follow Jesus is to love and obey His word. This is Christianity 101; this is what it means to say, "Where He leads me I will follow."

Often the homosexual community call evangelical Christians bigots. What they fail to realize is that we are not like them. We do not have the luxury of picking and choosing our own morality and our own convictions. When we received Jesus as our Savior a huge book filled with all sorts of values and morals was set before us. The same Bible that tells us "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," also tells us that fornicators and homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. These words and thoughts are not original with us. They were written thousands of years ago, as holy men were moved by Holy Spirit to write them. Of course we disapprove of homosexuality, just as we disapprove of adultery, fornication, lying, stealing, and unforgiveness. The Savior we have received and the Bible we have embraced condemn these things without equivocation. 

Receive Christ – Receive His Ways 

To attempt to embrace Christ as our Savior, and yet refuse to be willing to live by the values and ways of God, is folly. Imagine a homeless orphan living on the streets in rags, near starvation. A kind man offers to adopt him, provide him a loving family and all the physical needs he will ever have. There is but one condition. The boy must wear only the clothes picked out by his new father. When he goes into the man's house, he finds a huge closet filled with the most beautiful, exquisite clothes imaginable. But none of the clothes even slightly resembles the rags he has been wearing for years. Running out of the house he complains bitterly of the man's dictatorial ways. If he can't wear the rags he is used to, he will accept none of the man's generosity and love. What insanity!

But of course this is precisely what the ungodly are doing, when they refuse to allow the morals, values, and ways of God to govern their lives. The only people who have the right to claim Jesus and call themselves born again, are the ones who have determined to follow Jesus and live by His words. We won't do it perfectly of course. We will make our mistakes. But the attitude of cheerful obedience must be present. The Bible tells us: "It is God who works in you, both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). 

As new creations in Christ we have the laws and ways of God written on our hearts. We are given the mind of Christ, and He becomes wisdom to us. And when we arrive at those crossroads where decisions must be made, our first and instinctive reaction is to ask whether this is an "easy" decision – has God already spoken on the matter? If so, we will choose to obey.




To see a full listing of all articles available, go to our
Written Devos Page.
For a full listing of all articles as audio mp3 files (free downloads), go to our Audio Devos Page.

     

        For inspirational devos, bios of Christian leaders, free downloads, and the latest SOGM news:
Sign up to receive E-newsletter
>>

Your donations are needed and greatly appreciated!

 

 

Just for you!

Missions Outreach


A major part of Spirit of Grace Ministries is our ministry in the great continent of Africa. There is a tremendous harvest going on in the world these days, and we are privileged to be a part of it. Above is a brief music video featuring some pics from our recent mission in Magodes, Uganda.

Audio Devo: "Why is there suffering?"

People have debated this question for millennia. And we cannot speak concerning specific individual questions of suffering, but the Bible clearly speaks as to why suffering has always been a part of the human experience.