The Choices We Make
This morning on my drive to work I got stuck behind a driver that didn’t seem to know where he was headed. He drove slowly, and hesitated at every stop light - as if he was trying to decide which lane he needed to actually be in when the light turned green. Then at one of the last intersections before the highway, he chose a lane to stop in - only to discover it was a turn-only lane, and he wasn’t turning. So he had to sit at a green light, with cars honking behind him, until traffic cleared enough for him to move over into the correct lane.
As I watched this guy struggle to decide where and how to drive, I couldn’t help reflecting on the fact that life is made up of a series of choices. Every day we’re faced with them, ranging from the small - like what we’re going to wear or eat, to the big - like where we're going to work and who we're going to marry.
There is no way around it - life is all about choices. Which means that the secret to successful living is learning how to make good decisions. However, making the right choices isn’t important just because our choices directly impact how our lives unfold - our choices are also important because of how they shape our relationship with God.
Now, don't misunderstand me - I don’t think God’s overly concerned about which shoes we’re wearing today. However, He IS concerned about how we’re choosing to live the life He’s given us. Listen to how the Apostle Paul describes it in Ephesians 5:17, where he writes, “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
Paul could not have put it more plainly about the importance of our choices when he tells us to live wisely, and try to understand what the Lord wants us to do. The key then is to figure out what God wants us to do. And this is where it gets challenging for us because whether we realize it or not, we all carry with us a collective “wisdom” that’s been passed on to us by people who’ve played significant roles in our lives. It’s wisdom that comes from parents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, pastors – all the people that have shaped and molded us as we’ve grown up. And the truth is, some of this wisdom is good and helpful, while some of it can actually point us in the wrong direction. And that's because a lot of the wisdom we're given comes from the world, which means it's wisdom based on rational, human thought. On the other hand, biblical wisdom is based on God’s plan and design for His creation.
A good way to think of it is to picture this world that God created like a piece of wood, with God’s wisdom being the grain in the wood. If you’ve ever worked with a piece of wood, you’ve probably discovered that it’s a lot easier to work with the grain, rather than against it. The same holds true with biblical wisdom – it's learning to live with the grain that God has established in His creation, rather than against it. It’s understanding the structure and order that God built into His world, and then living our lives in harmony with that order and structure. And one of the best ways to get that understanding, is to read God's Word, because that's where He's laid it out.
So today, let's ask God to help us choose wisely. Let’s ask Him to give us a desire to better understand His wisdom for how to live in this world, and then let's use what we learn to make wise choices that please and honor God.