This seems to be “one of those days” … when the title of an old country music song makes the best title for a blog post. In this case, a song entitled, “Choices” by George Jones. One line in particular stands out for me in today’s world, “living and dying with the choices I’ve made”.
Isn’t that the way this world is? Whether on a personal level, or on a national level, our world today is what it is because of the choices we’ve made … and today, as it has been throughout history, people and nations are living and dying with the choices they’ve made.
We all make choices, and we all bear responsibility before our Creator for them. Not only that, but our choices don’t just affect our lives, but the lives of our children and grandchildren as well.
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deut. 30:19)
Something most human beings (myself included) would want is for someone else, who is totally reliable, to make their hard choices for them. You know the ones – the agonizing life-and-death choices that seem to carry your entire future in their hands.
Well what if I told you that many of the most weighty choices of our lives – the ones that can truly bring us to the fulfillment of what God’s great plan for mankind pictures – have already been made by just such a Being?
“Thy Will,” or My Will?
On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus Christ prayed, “let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, Thy will be done.” In other words, He said, “I will comply with Your choices for Me, Father, with no reservations. He came to do God’s will with the physical body that God had given Him, and we are supposed to follow that example.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:15-19)
This shows Peter voicing a right choice (though I don’t think he fully understood it) in compliance with the will of the Father. Now just think about what Christ tells him and how this would make you feel … would it appeal to your vanity a little? Well, just look at what happens next in the context.
Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matt. 16:20-23)
How cocky is this brethren? to rebuke the one whom he himself just identified as, “the Christ, the son of the living God”? Would we do something similar, and would Christ tell us we “savor the things of men”? Do we focus on our will, our power, our glory, our self-exaltation, our ideas, and maybe our interpretation of what God says? If so, then we are not making right choices. The alternative is to “savor the things of God,” and make the life-choice to focus on God’s will, His choices, His instructions, and His inspiration.
When I say “thy will be done,” do I really mean, “my will be done”? Do I say, “Thy will be done,” and then wait, or do I say “Thy will be done” and do everything in my power to influence the outcome, so that my will is done instead? It really is hard for a man not to savor the things that be of men, isn’t it?
Whether we like to admit it or not brethren, all churches are built partly on the things that be of God, and partly on the things that be of men. The question we have to ask ourselves as individuals is, “What am I built on as one of God’s called out ones aspiring to the kingdom of God?”