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The Choices We Make

Posted on May 16, 2021

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The Choices We Make

Acts1:15-17, 21-26

Psalm 1

1 John 5:9-13

John 17:6-19

Our lives are full of choices. In the average lifetime an individual may make 773,618 decisions. Out of these decisions the average person will come to regret 143,262 of them. This means that on average 18.5% of our choices will end up being bad ones. The question then is how do we make the right decisions? Our entire lives will be shaped by the choices that we make. God also has made choices. He chose to create the universe. He chose to put life at the center of that universe. He chose create all of the animals, fish, birds, and trees. He chose to create mankind and then chose to give us also the ability to choose. He gave us the same ability that he has and that is to make choices for ourselves. We can choose to either obey his will or we can choose to disobey and ignore his will. He chose something else though too. He chose to come into our world as one of us and chose to give his life in place of our own regardless if we choose to love and follow him or not. This is the testimony of God. John tells us that if we do not believe this testimony then we make him out to be a liar. Whoever has the Son has eternal life. This is the testimony of God.

Before the time of Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus were in a dilemma. There had to be 12 apostles of Christ symbolizing one for every tribe. However, they were now left with 11 as Judas betrayed Jesus and then took his own life in return. Therefore, they had to choose another to serve with them as one of the twelve. This was not a decision that they could make on their own. They had wisdom in understanding that it should be someone who had been with them through the entire time of their journey. They narrowed things down to two candidates and then essentially did their own version of eeny meeny miny moe. They cast lots and prayed and where ever the lot fell then that person would be the choice to join with them as one of the 12. In that case they were letting God decide where ever the lot would fall.

When Jesus was in the garden the night before he was arrested, he was praying to the father. John recounts for us what it was that he was praying. It is interesting in that they were supposedly all sleeping yet John somehow is also able to deliver to us this prayer. In out passage for today Jesus is praying for his disciples. Jesus prays that they are protected as he will soon no longer be in the world while they will remain in the world but yet not part of the world. Jesus asks that they be sanctified by the truth that he has given them by the Word of God. For as the Father has sent the Son into the world the Son has sent them into the world. Jesus says he has sanctified himself so that they too may be truly sanctified.

To be sanctified means to be set apart. When Jesus is saying that he has sanctified himself he is saying that he has literally set himself apart from the rest of the world. While the world makes choices by their own desires and through things such as lust or covetousness, Jesus has made his decisions based upon the Word and desires of His Father. To set oneself apart from the world and to make their decisions not as the world does but by how the Son has made His decisions is what it means to be holy and to live holy. For the Son is Holy as He has lived holy as the Father is Holy. Jesus us desires the same for his disciples and for all of his followers. Because his disciples have been set apart, we have an example before us through their message of what it means to be holy as well.

Our lives are full of choices. We make quite a lot of them in our lifetime. Our choices may not always determine the events that happen to us outwardly in life as good and wonderful things as well as awful things can happen to anyone. However, we are able to choose how we respond to these events. We can make our choice based on our inner desires of our heart or we can choose to make our choices based on the desires of the heart of God. We know the heart of God by his Word. That is why the song says, “Word of God Speak.” May His word poor down like rain to wash our eyes to see his majesty. When the dark times comes may we be still and know that he is in this place and may we stay and rest in His Holiness.

I believe that our country and our Church big C has been falling away from what it means to be set apart. As time has passed, we have been allowing our politics and our changing culture to dictate our theology instead of allowing our theology dictate our politics and our culture. We have chosen to hate the things and people whom we should love and love the things that we should hate. The Church needs to come back to what holiness really means. All of this is based upon the choices that we make.

Jesus chose to love the unlovable and to hate what is evil. While Jesus was pretty hard on the Pharisees and church heads, I don’t think that he hated them. He just hated the evil that they taught and followed. He hated some of the choices that they made because they made their choices based upon their lust for power and prestige and not based upon the love and desires of God. They called themselves holy and set apart yet they made their decisions based upon an unholy and legalistic law that they twisted to fit their own desires for control. Jesus treated them harshly because he loved them and he loved those who were hurting in the world. He desired that they would turn away from their hardened hearts and look to serve those who were in need. While they lived in their wealth and prestige, they neglected the poor and the needed while requiring them to do the impossible while they were in need.

Oh, the choices we will make in our lifetime. My prayer is that we can make our choices not as the world does but as Christ did. That we use our principles based upon the Word and not create principles based upon the world. Our call to worship today said, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” This scripture has a whole new meaning to me today. It is all about the choices that we make. We can choose to walk in step with the wicked and stand the same way that sinners take or we can choose to delight in the law and desires of the Lord and meditate on His word day and night. The choice is ours to make.