Just about everything we involve ourselves in reflects choice: we decided to do or decided not to do. We can find a lot of excuses for not doing what the Lord commands us to do. But if we do not do those things, isn’t it a plain indictment that we really do not love the Lord or, at least, do not have the love for Him we ought? Our attitude toward God is going to have a very real and practical effect on how we live this life and, in consequence, where we abide in eternity. Our attitude shows up in our regard for what He says, that is, our regard for authority. Every conflict we face in life can be answered with this: “Will we do what God wants us to do or what we want to do?” Selfishness is the tap root of all sin. That makes crucifying our own will and having the Lord’s will of preeminent concern. Such an attitude should be reflected in a right disposition which will be followed by right decisions which lead to right deeds and produce right consequences.
Our decisions and deeds carry consequences that affect those about us. By our life, we tell all those around us where our priorities are. We are literally walking billboards. The way we live shows what is important to us. It says, “I recommend this or that way of life.” None of us live without influence, especially in the home. When our children see us living as we are, they are influenced. We are going to make deep marks upon them. If there are times we are not as concerned about pleasing God as we ought to be, then we should not be surprised that our children reason the same. If there are times we defer in priority to our own personal pleasure above serving God, then we should not be surprised they do the same. If we teach them by our example that under certain circumstances we don’t have any obligation to God, will they not follow our example?
But even more, every decision and deed does something to me. The decisions and deeds not only say something about me and my character but they also hurt. Every sin we countenance paves the way for others. Every sin we deliberately involve ourselves in becomes the launching pad of others. When David saw Bathsheba, he made a decision. He could have turned his head, but he choose to continue to look. Then came the lusting, then the sending, then the cohabiting, then the death of Uriah. All of these began with a look to lust, seemingly a little thing. That is where all fornication and all sin starts: with a heart set on having what is not rightfully ours. A forest set on fire by a match could have been snuffed out between the fingers, but it wasn’t. Evil thoughts could be snuffed out with first thought but left to simmer in the mind they lead to sinful fruition. Don’t we have volition to decide what we want to think about? This is best illustrated by the story of a bird that wanted to go South for the winter. The bird made a deal with a fox. The fox said, “I’ll lay a worm out for you every morning if you will leave me a feather in exchange.” The bird said, “Okay, sounds good.” The bird gets fatter and fatter and you know the end. Which feather was his undoing? The 3rd or the 10th? The 1st. If he hadn’t given it, he would not have given the 3rd or the 10th. We sometimes think little things are not going to hurt.
Every decision and every deed says something about our character. We need to listen to the little things. They tell the attitude of the heart. “A straw will show which way the wind blows or which way the water flows.” There are a lot of little straws in our lives that indicate which way we are moving. Just take our attitude toward God. These little straws, choices, we make every day really reveal our regard for God. Do you recall the penalty for picking up sticks on the Sabbath? Death by stoning. But all a person did was pick up sticks on the Sabbath. We make the mistake of looking at the little sticks and not the great sovereign God that said, “Don’t do it.” The problem is we rationalize and forget about the authority of God. “God said” is what makes picking up sticks big and important. God said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). Some might say, “No big deal.” What does going under water have to do with being right with God? God said it! Therefore, we do not discount what God said and opt for what we want to do.
Every moment of our lives the decisions we make and deeds that follow demonstrate our regard for God and His word. Our manner of life and our treatment of others both reflect on our esteem for God. That is inescapable. May God grant us the wisdom to remember that every little decision we make carries eternal consequences.
by Rickie Jenkins