Posts Tagged ‘choices’

Choices: You cannot always guarantee success, but you can almost always guarantee failure. -Me

Are you choosing success or failure?

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A couple weeks ago my kids and I were engaged in a heated battle on the living room floor. Bodies were flying all over the place and elbows were being dropped. Wrestlemania had broken out at the Goodwin house. This was not tag team match but it was three on one. I had a two, four, and six year old jumping all over me and loving every minute of it.
Then it happened. My four year old, Matthew, decided it was time to take our contest to a whole new level. He climbed up on the couch and stood up while boldly announcing that he was going to jump off. My wife overheard our little daredevils announcement and told him not to do it. He responded by arguing his case and she responded that if he jumped off the couch he could hurt somebody or hurt himself. He argued again and then he did it. He jumped…

While I would have given Matthew’s flying leap a ten if he had been at the Olympics, his landing was far less graceful. He landed rather awkwardly and managed to hurt himself. He started to cry and grabbed his injured leg. This action of disobedience and pain brought Wrestlemania to a screeching halt. Our match was done and I am still unsure who was the victor.

A short time later I was holding my four year old, who was still in pain, while my wife was starting the process of getting our six year old and two year old ready for bed. While holding Matthew, he made a statement that all parents long to hear from their children. He simply said, “Daddy, I really should have listened to Mommy.”

I then explained that mommy wanted him to be able to have fun but just did not want him to get hurt. It was one of those ah ha moments as a parent when you realize your child actually gets it. Having this conversation with a four year old was quite rewarding for me as a dad.
After contemplating this teaching moment with my child, I immediately thought of how this same truth is so very real in regards to Christians and their relationships with their heavenly Father. So often we fight an order given by God just the same way my son argued with my wife. We seem to adopt the attitude that God is the divine spoil sport in the sky. He does not want us to have fun. Doesn’t he have other things to worry about?

Well, when it comes down to it, my wife wanted my son to have fun. What she did not want was for him to experience unnecessary pain. She saw what was coming even when he could not.

So why does God not want us to lie, steal, sleep around and break the law (to name a few)? Because he knows that while there will be temporary pleasure, the pain that will come will not be worth the pleasure.

Just this morning I heard on the radio that 12% of the couples in our country are cohabitating outside of the confines of marriage. Clearly this is not in alignment with Scripture. In fact while we know God does not approve there are also truths that aren’t found in Scripture that further back God’s desire. Take for example the couple who lives together before marriage. Eventually they get married but their lack of commitment they demonstrated before marriage plays a serious role in their marriage. Studies have shown that their marriages are 50% more likely to end in divorce. Could it be that God knew this?

Perhaps He is not a spoil sport. Perhaps He just does not want us to experience unnecessary pain. I could go on and on with examples but reality is most of us a have severe trust issue. While we say that we are totally dependant upon God our choices scream otherwise. I have lost count of the people who have made stupid choices only to become angry with God for not blessing their lives. Could it be God lets us make dumb choices but also lets us suffer the consequences? I know it is a novel idea.

It is almost as if we live a welfare state of spirituality. So many times we have sense of entitlement in regards to God. We expect blessing and fail to realize many of His promised blessings in Scripture are dependent upon faithfulness and obedience.

Before I end this little rant, I would like to say that I realize that it is impossible to live a pain free life. However, I believe if we follow God’s principles, we can live life with less pain. So I would challenge you to pursue obedience. Don’t be forced to learn the lesson like my son. Don’t just say you trust God, live like you do. Sooner or later, you’ll be glad you did.

Christians across our great nation seem to be plagued by a sweeping epidemic. This epidemic can be characterized by one word: rationalization. Poor choices are often swept away with explanations that are meant to make a sinful choice look allowable.

I know several Christians that are sr. citizens that choose to live together. While they understand what the Bible says about avoiding the appearance of evil and the teachings it promotes in regards to marriage they have an answer. They excuse their sinful lifestyle choice by stating that if they should get married that they will lose social security money. Part of me gets bothered by this fact. I find it to be deplorable that a government would penalize people for marriage. Yet by using this as a rationalization, they are saying that their pocketbooks are more important than God’s standards.

At the end of the day, all I have is my integrity. Was I honest? Did I live by the standards that God set in place for me to live by? Or did I choose to do what I wanted and offer an explanation as to why my agenda was more important than Gods?

Unfortunately for most believers, they believe that sin is just a normal part of life for them. While this may be true, it is not how it is supposed to be for believers. Take Romans 3.23 as an example. It is often quoted by believers not as a fact about the world they live in but as an excuse to sin. After all, all have sinned. I fit in that category.

Here is where we seem to fall short as we exegete Romans 3.23. We offer the conclusion that based on Romans 3.23 that of us have sinned and will sin. However, when you study Romans 3.23 in the Greek, one will find that the phrase have sinned was originally written in the aorist tense. It is looking back at sin as something that took place historically in the past. The discussion of Romans 3.23 in regards to salvation isn’t to bring about whether or not someone is sinning now or will sin in the future but to say you have sinned in the past and therefore are guilty of God’s judgment. This verse does not give license to sin but establishes what condition we were living in before we acknowledged Christ as our Savior.

Time and time again the Apostle Paul compares the past lives of believers with their current lives. He also states in Romans 8.12 that we are no longer under obligation to the flesh. In other words, we do not have to sin. Rather in studying chapter 8 of Romans, one will be overcome with the realization that sin always is a result of ignoring the Spirit. Sin will forever be a choice. We do not need to sin. What we need to do is yield ourselves to the Spirit and live with integrity as believers. Let’ not confuse the world with what a Christian ought to look like. Let’s tell them with our lips and show them with our lives.