What are you like about making decisions? Me, I’m not very good. I easily change my mind or get swayed by another piece of information that changes how I think about something. I’ve been thinking about buying another car for at least six months and I’m no further forward. I decide on a particular car, then I read something negative about it so I start the search all over again. My son-in-law is different to me. He’s good at making decisions and so his new car is being delivered next month.
Making decisions is something we do throughout life and the ones we make determine the kind of life we lead. Should I marry this person, should I accept this job, should I attend this university and follow this course, should I extend my mortgage, decisions are constantly required of us. Decisions of this type affect our future happiness and are very important but two other decisions will have a far greater effect on us.
One decision is a recurring decision that we make continually. It occurs when we have to decide, ‘Should I do what I want or what God wants?’ You may say I have nothing to do with God, but he has something to do with you and he will use your conscience to challenge you on what is right and wrong. You’ll be faced with a situation where you have to decide between what you want to do and what your conscience tells you is the right thing to do. This decision making has been faced by the human race ever since the first couple decided to disobey God and do their own thing. Adam and Eve had been told what they could do and what they couldn’t do. They could do anything they wanted except eat fruit from one particular tree. What happened? “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (1) This tree was known as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and in eating from it Adam and Eve who had lived innocently before we’re now able to make choices between doing the right thing (good) or the wrong thing (evil). Whereas God would only choose the good thing, they would make wrong choices, like eating the fruit in the first place. Their ‘sin’ brought death into the world and with it the evil that surrounds us today. Without sin, there would never have been wars, cancers, Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Adolf Hitler, ecological disasters, or anything bad you can think of. Whatever is bad it can be traced back to its origin in the Garden of Eden where man first decided he knew better than the God who loved him.
The second decision will deal with the sin affecting our own lives. The worst thing sin has done is to alienate us from God, to make us his enemy, our choice not his. We have created a barrier that needs to be removed but it’s an impossible task. Try as hard as we might we can’t do it. We can recognise the problem and aim to do something about it. We can decide to live a better life, to try harder, but it won’t be long before we make yet another wrong decision and have to start all over again. We keep trying, we keep failing and we’re stuck in an endless loop of failure. There is a solution though, and it involves making a key decision.
We can’t put things right but God can and he has already done it through his Son, Jesus. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (2) God’s desire is to be reconciled to us, to remove the barrier of sin between us. He knows we can do nothing about it because we will continue to make wrong choices and sin against him, so he has done something about it. He let his Son die for us. In dying Jesus was punished for our sins so that if we turn to him in faith we will be forgiven and the barrier we created will be removed. We can be reconciled to God and enabled to make good decisions when choosing between what we want and what God wants. If we’re wise we’ll follow God’s way because it’s the way of happiness.
Your key decision is to ask yourself, ‘Do I believe that Jesus died for me and if so am I prepared to come to him in faith and commit myself to live for him?’ There’s only one right answer to this question and I hope you do what your heart tells you is right. Confess your sin and follow Jesus.
- Genesis 3:6
- John 3:16