Phil Congdon, NBBC, June 1, 2019
Last month in this space I wrote that the most significant decisions we make in life are spiritual decisions. These decisions affect everything we do, and dictate how we respond to things which happen that are beyond our control. Spiritual decisions not only determine where and how we will spend eternity…but on the way to eternity, spiritual decisions mark our lives.
Over the last month, we set aside four Sunday messages to focus on four decisions that will mark every one of our lives – decisions which can literally change the trajectory of our lives, and thus our eternal future. That’s pretty heady stuff!
The first decision is a decision for Christ. We live in a sarcastic and surrealistic world, where we spend time and money amusing ourselves to death. Cyberspace has replaced reality; truth is sacrificed on the altar of progressive orthodoxy; some of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard are repeated over and over in media, and end up being accepted as ‘fact.’ In the face of this, the first decision a person must make is to take God seriously (rejecting evolutionary nonsense), and honestly consider the claims of Christ. Trusting Christ as Savior is not easy: It requires going against secular beliefs. But make a decision for Christ, and it opens a universe of meaning and hope that this world can provide.
The second decision is a decision to follow Christ. This is neither simple or easy. Jesus said that being His disciple required that a person put Christ before all others (even those closest to you), before yourself (your own personal wants, cravings, desires), and before things (all the ‘stuff’ in the world that we pursue). Discipleship is a high calling. Being a ‘follower of Jesus Christ’ does not mean living a monastic life, or having a holier-than-thou attitude, or speaking in ‘King James English’! But it does mean being honest with God, and paying the price in our daily lives. Jesus is looking for Christians who will ‘build and battle’ for Him (see Luke 14.25-35). Will you?
The third decision is a decision to choose grace. This isn’t easy, either. When others treat you wrongly, how you respond says everything about you. When the unsaved mock you and malign the name of Christ, do you reply in kind? When another Christian speaks badly of you behind your back, do you spread something ugly about them in return? The freedom of grace is always treating others the way you’d want them to treat you, not the way they treat you (see Luke 6.31)! Choosing grace also means saying “No!” to legalism, or polluting the Gospel with works.
The fourth decision is a decision to give. In the broadest scope, this means giving of the three-Ts – your time, talent, and treasure. Ask God for wisdom in how you give – if you wisely give your time, and in areas where you have talent, you’ll have great joy in giving. Giving of your treasure is tricky: Jesus said in Matthew 6.21 that “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If your ‘treasure’ is consumed providing for your comforts, wants, and security in this life, that is where your heart is. If you invest your ‘treasure’ in giving to the work of the Lord, in helping to spread His love and salvation, that is where your heart is. One ‘investment’ pays off in this life. The other ‘pays’ eternal rewards that accrue in heaven! Where is your treasure, and your heart?