Monthly Archives: May 2012
What will I do? Where will I go? What will I eat? What shall I put on? What will I read next?
Decisions, decisions, decisions! There are minor decisions in life that are determined on the spot. There are other decisions which require deliberation, counsel, and prayer. I want to talk about another type of decision. For lack of a better term I will call it, ‘decisive decision’. I’m talking about the kind of decisions you make in life that determine ahead of time what you are going to do in a given situation. When Paul was addressing the elders of the church in Ephesus he said to them that he had, “determined to hold back nothing that was profitable for them.” When did he decide that? Was it in the act of preaching? Was it the result of an internal struggle he felt during the preaching when he realized that someone present was going to be offended by something that needed to be said? Was he thinking, “Should I? Shouldn’t I?” No. Not at all. He had determined long before he ever opened his mouth in Ephesus that he would never shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God.
Think of Joseph in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar’s wife seeks to seduce the handsome young man. What will he do? She was there and ready and willing. No doubt beautiful. She had power over him. What would he do? Make a decision on his feet? See how he felt at the time? No. He had long before decided what kind of man he was. He would not sin against God. Think of Job and the covenant that he had made with his eyes (Job 31:1). Did Job say to himself, every day, “Will I look or not look? Is there anyone around to see where my eyes are going? Will she notice if I am staring? Will I, won’t I?” He had long before determined what he would do with his eyes and that decision carried over day to day with every young woman who passed by. He had already determined not to look with lust.
I thought of this truth recently in reading a book about the attack on the USS Cole. When the commanding officer was aware of what had happened his mind raced to the vow he had taken years before when he entered the Navy. He had sworn an oath to his country, to support and defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. He says, “I was now committed to giving my life to defend my country. Those words spoken over two decades before were now stark reality…”
Many who profess faith leave thing to the last minute. What will I do when I am tempted? Will I do what I already know to be my duty? Will I leave it to how I feel at the last moment? Will I attend church? Will I go to prayer meeting? Will I read the scriptures? Will I seek to bear witness? Will I watch this kind of thing on television? Will I turn it off or will I indulge? In a very real sense, we say that we decided when we began to follow Jesus. We vowed to take Him as our Lord and Master. We said to all the future questions of obedience, “I already decided.” Now we need to live like it.
For several reasons my attention has been drawn to the fleeting and uncertain nature of life in this world. I came across this quotation from a secular writer (Sports and Crime Fiction) the other day and thought I would pass it on.
For most of us, death will not announce itself with a blare of trumpets or a roar of cannons. It will come silently, on the soft paws of a cat. It will insinuate itself, rubbing against our ankle in the midst of an ordinary moment. An uneventful dinner. A drive home from work. A sofa pushed across a floor. A slight bend to retrieve a morning newspaper tossed into a bush. And then, a faint cry, an exhale of breath, a muffled slump.
Pat Jordan, “A Ridiculous Will”