By Shane Williams
One thing that most everyone in the world does every- day is make choices. We make choices about what we do for recreation, the company we keep, our profession, and whom we marry. Some decisions affect us for a short period of time while others last forever. Spiritual choices are the most important and need the utmost consideration before they are made. Let us look at some choices that individuals made in the Scriptures and how they were affected.
Moses Made a Choice
Hebrews 11:25 tells us that Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
Moses was a good man but he didn’t become this way overnight. It took time and effort. He could have lived a luxurious life in the palace of the Egyptians but he chose instead to help one of his Hebrew brethren, risking every- thing that he had.
Moses chose affliction instead of an easy life. Why? He knew the pleasures of sin last only a season but the blessings of God are everlasting.
What kind of choice would we have made in this situation? Or maybe better yet, what kind of choice do we make? Do we choose the easy path instead of the path that God would have us take? Our reward in heaven won’t be based on a couple of times that we made the right choice, but it will be based on whom we followed, who was most important in our lives, whom we consistently obeyed even when times were rough. It will depend on our obedience to the Scriptures.
Joshua Made a Choice
As Joshua was nearing the end of his life, he addressed the people of Israel. He said, “. . . Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).
Joshua had lived a life under the rule of God. He recognized the importance of following God all of his life. He said, “You have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the Lord God is He who has been fighting for you” (Josh. 23:3). He goes on to say in vv. 12-13 that if they ever turn away and cling back to the other nations, that God would certainly not continue to drive these nations out from before them. If they turned from God, he would depart from them.
Joshua had made a choice in his life. He chose God over everything else. What would we have done in that situation? Would we have followed other gods like most of Israel, or would we have taken a stand and served the true and living God?
What kind of choice do we make in our lives today? Do we serve God or other things? We don’t have to be bowing down to little man-made objects to be doing the same thing that Israel did. It doesn’t take that much. All it takes is us putting something before God. Forsaking worship by staying home and watching football will put us in the same boat as Israel. Choosing to do things with friends instead of worshiping God will have the same effect. If we are going to put father, mother, brother, sister, friends, hobbies, recreation, anything or anyone ahead of Christ, we are not his disciple (Luke 14:26).
Mary Made a Choice
Jesus and his disciples were traveling and they came to a certain village. The woman, Martha, welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, was sitting at the Lord’s feet wanting to listen, but Martha was distracted with all her preparations and said to Jesus, “Do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Mar- tha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40b-42).
Mary chose to be concerned with the teachings of Jesus instead of being worried about the serving. She recognized the importance of Jesus’ words. The other things could wait until Jesus had left.
Do we study the words of Jesus, which contain eternal life (John 6:68) or do we find better things to do? Are we concerned with what the word of God says, or is it really too much of a hassle and I could have a better time doing something else? Understanding what God has said to us takes lots of study. It takes diligence to handle accurately the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). Paul tells us not to be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:17). If we don’t take the time to study and find out what God has said to us, we are foolish! We can’t understand his word if we do not study. Do we really want to learn or just learn when it is convenient?
King Agrippa Made a Choice
King Agrippa heard Paul’s defense in Acts 26. He heard Paul talk about how he had persecuted Christians and im- prisoned them. Paul told him about his trip to Damascus and how he had been spoken to by Jesus. He told Agrippa that he was not going to be disobedient to that heavenly vision (Acts 26:19). Paul then proceeded to tell Agrippa that Jesus was the one prophesied about by Moses and the prophets.
After all this, Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28).
We sing a song called “Almost Persuaded.” Almost will not do it for us. If I almost get in a car accident, I still didn’t get into one. If I almost bought a new car, I still don’t own one. If I almost became a Christian, I’m still not one!
Some people seem to think that if we are almost good enough to make it to heaven, God will go ahead and let us in. That is not the case. Remember in school if you had a nice teacher and you were getting an 89.9% in the class, usually she would give you an A- anyway. It doesn’t work that way with God. Judgment will be easy for him. It will be as easy as telling a sheep from a goat (Matt. 25:33). Either we have been doing the will of God or we haven’t. We have either accepted his word and are following it or we have rejected it. A choice must be made!