The Choice

The young man looked at me as I sat on the couch beside him. While I knew very little about him, I knew he was having heart trouble. There was a personal crisis in his life, but I did not know any more. After a moment of silence, I asked him a question, “I understand that you are creative. Is that true?” He looked at me as he responded by saying, “Yes.” So, I asked, “Do you think God might have an interest in how that creativity develops?” This time he hesitated, then answered, “I think so.” Then I became more personal as I asked him, “Do you have a girl friend?” He responded that he did. “Do you think God might be interested in how you handle that?” The delay in responding was a little longer this time, but he said, “I’m not sure.” So, the relationship was first and foremost. He was not sure whether he wanted God’s permission or opinion about it.

Is God a part of what we hold so dear? Is He first?

The subject is central to the Kingdom of God but is so counter to human reasoning: “I came not to send peace, but a sword…He that loves father, or mother…son or daughter more than me…is not worthy of me…he that finds his life shall lose it; and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.” The underlying truth in this portion of Matthew 11 is reflected in dozens of other sections of the Bible by example, parable, and exhortation.

It comes down to the same thing, regardless of cultural standards and traditions. Do we want God more than anything? If so, He responds, but there is often a cost. Yet, something is unlocked when a person leans on Him with a whole heart. And, it is at this moment, which only God knows, that He frequently makes Himself known. His life, which is the light of men, enters.

In the richest of nations, when one leans on God completely, then riches come under His oversight. So, few come. They want their riches on their terms. The rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-30 (and two other books) is a key example. The same applies to those who hold power first.

In the most educated of nations that are filled with the wisdom of man, that wisdom is frequently held above all. But if a person says God knows better with their whole heart, then God begins to direct that person’s steps to a better wisdom. So, few very educated come to God, because of the loss that might be incurred if God is recognized as supreme. The popular premise is that the more educated we are, then the better we are. Oh?

I have been in rich and poor places, educated places and places where ignorance abounds. The conditions of the human heart are often full of drama and complex situations. Unraveling any of it starts at one place. Is God wanted above all? He made us from the beginning to flourish in a fellowship with Him. From the beginning with Adam and Eve, wisdom and desire outside of God is widely chosen, but it is a way that leads to destruction. Yet, He still waits, uses circumstances, and puts people in our path that to remind us of the core choice that must be made to know Him: will we let Him be first? It may cost relationships, riches, and, most of all, our own precious way that is so destructive and full of sin.

I never knew what happened to the young man on the couch that night. I only know God presented a choice to Him. Jesus Christ came to save us from our sin, which is our own way apart from Him. He knew from the beginning that it would take His action to make a way for us, and he made that way sure. Will you choose that way?

Choose wisely. Opportunities passed are opportunities lost.

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Romans 10:9-10  Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Mark 16:16    Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

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