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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Bad Choices

Bad Choices

This week the message is going to look at choices. We all make choices throughout our lives that direct our paths. You begin your life not having many choices. When you are a baby, your parents decide everything for you. They dress you, feed you and take you wherever they like. Only when you are older can you decide such things. But with freedom comes responsibility. Your life has been directed by many outside influences, as we shall see.

I am going to start with a passage in Deuteronomy. In chapter thirty and verse nineteen Moses is presenting to the children of God (the Israelites) that they must make a decision. He puts before them two paths. Life and death are there for them to decide. But before I elaborate on this look also at Joshua chapter twenty-four. In verse fourteen Joshua also gives the Jews a fork in the road. These two choices are the same as the ones Moses had given their fathers. They must make a decision. Moses said it was life and death, blessing and destruction. Joshua’s choices were to serve Jehovah God or serve the gods of the Egyptians or Amorites.

I want to point out here that we often equate the stories in the Old Testament with symbolism of the Christian walk. Moses has been looked at as a type of Christ. Moses delivered the Israelites out of Egypt just as Jesus delivered us from the bondage of sin. But the Deuteronomy passage is interesting because it happens after they have been delivered from slavery. They chose to leave Egypt and slavery but now they had to choose God. Again, when Joshua was leading these people, he gave them a choice. As I said earlier, you make many choices in life. Perhaps you have chosen to serve God. That is good! But you have many more choices that are important before you finish this life.

This past week, someone I know lost their job because of a bad choice. He had many years with a company and had made many good choices, no doubt. But he made a serious blunder in judgment. It makes me ponder just what causes us to make good or bad choices. I always appreciate the answers that the Bible has for every part of life. Look at the book of Proverbs.

There is much wisdom in Proverbs as it is given from God. Solomon wrote many of the Proverbs as did other wise people. But never forget that all of these words are supernaturally inspired. Just a side note here; there is 31 chapters of Proverbs and up to 31 days in the months. If you don’t have a daily Bible reading why don’t you try reading a chapter out of this great book each day? You will be surprised at what God will show you!

Back to our message, look at Proverbs 13:20. The message is clear; if we keep company with wise people we will also be wise. But if our companions are foolish we will be destroyed. Let me tell you now, young person, the people that you choose to be as friends are extremely important choices. Your parents may seem cruel if they don’t allow you to keep company with someone but it may be that they see bad habits that you will pick up. I must admit that we were very selective in allowing our children friends. At times it seemed that there was no one in their lives. But in the long run, they have grown up happy and are now wise enough to pick the right friends.

This good wisdom also applies to the rest of us. Yes, all of us need to be careful as to who we associate with. I’m not talking about cutting the entire world off and becoming a hermit or a monk in a monastery. But when we have very close friends, they influence us tremendously. Follow me to 1st Corinthians 15:33. The word “communications” in this verse can be misleading if we don’t understand the King James English. We think about communications as being talk or conversation. That is a mere slice of what the word means. To expound further it means companionship or communion. This evil companionship is not talking about having bad neighbors or even family. This would be ungodly friends that we have chosen to be connected with in a close relationship.

Look now at what God says these friendships do to us; they corrupt. The root word here means to corrupt, destroy, deprave or lead astray. Next, look at what gets lead astray or corrupted. It changes (in a negative way) our good manners. Once again, we must look at the original Greek to see what God is saying as “manners” isn’t a word we use much anymore.  It means morals, character or customary abode. So in other words, having friends that are un-godly will lead us astray to be un-godly, too.

I have had the opportunity of learning things as a pastor on many levels. When I was a youth pastor I felt like my job was to get the young people in and then let God deal with them. Back then, I was of the mentality of “at least they are in church”. I tried to make the gospel palatable to the point of blending anything with it to get it down. It was kind of like trying to get a diabetic to take a medicine and if they didn’t like it, my logic was to coat it in sugar. The sugar that I coated it with was opposite of to what the diabetic needed so the medicine did nothing.

Back then, I felt like any music could be Christian if it just had the right words. If a young person liked heavy metal rock music I introduce them to heavy metal “Christian” music. If they liked country I would tell them about artists that sang Christian lyrics and had a country sound. In my mind, I was applying the verse in 1st Cor. 9:22. Paul says he became all things to all men that he might win a few. Our modern church seems to have done the same thing that I was doing then. I have seen pastors with tattoos and body piercings trying to fit in with the type people who are unsaved and do that. I have also seen the dress codes of churches be taken down and allow an “anything goes” philosophy. Of course, music played in churches is much like the worlds.

I wonder where the interpretation of this scripture could take us. Could it be that Christian people could be so influenced by the devil and the flesh that they would become drug addicts and alcoholics so that they might win a few to Christ? Should Christian women prostitute themselves to win a few to the Lord? God forbid! After all, we are talking about interpreting this scripture to mean that as long as we bring them to church we can do anything, right? I think not. On the contrary; Jesus said that we would be salt and light to a bland and dark world. He said that we would be like a city on a hill (Matt 5:13-16).

As I am talking about making choices today, I remind us all that each day we make decisions to be like the world or like Jesus. It would be so easy to just accept Jesus as Savior and not worry about all of the choices after that. But our life is now full of them because of the freedom in Christ. My analogy in the beginning with an infant not able to make decisions applies to our walk. When I was a young Christian I envied the older ones as I thought the walk would get less complicated. I felt like Clergy had the easiest walk since everyone expected them to live for Jesus. I have since discovered that when we get more mature there is more expected of us.

I have already shared that walking with godly friends is one way of keeping on the right path. We have other ways that God has given us to keep on the narrow path. In Psalm 119:105 we discover that God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. His Word is spiritual and alive. While there are many books in the world that can give us advice, none of them have been written by our Creator. I’d much rather trust a manual from the original designer and builder of a device than someone who studied it and wrote their opinion. God made us! He has given us the manual for living. When we make decisions we should always base them on His Word.

That passage I just gave is actually enlightening in itself. A lamp to our feet and light to our path is strange to a world full of flashlights and headlights on cars. I suppose that campers today can better understand this verse than those who don’t. We always want to see miles down the road at night but God says He will give us enough for one more step. Believe it or not, you are much less likely to get off course if you take one step at a time. It keeps all of us more in line by not being able to see far down the road.

Besides Godly friends and God’s Word we have one more source to help us make good decisions. He has given us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God was provided to us after Jesus went back to be with the Father in Heaven. He has several roles in the walk of the Child of God. But today we look at His function as counselor. In John 16:7-11 Jesus said that it was in our best interest for Him to go because the Spirit would come. He then tells us what He (the Holy Ghost) will do for us. He will reprove the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Down in verse 13 it says that He will guide us in all truth. The Holy Spirit is that quiet, inner voice that reminds us that we are entering a wrong area. He gently nudges us and tells us that we need to turn this way or that.

So how do we end up making bad decisions? He, the Holy Spirit, can be grieved. Go to Ephesians 4:30. Paul says to not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. When you begin to do things which are sinful you get a check in your spirit man on the first time. If you neglect to listen to His counsel on the next time you will hear that inner voice a little quieter. Every time you fail to heed His warning you will be less and less convicted of a sin. Finally, you will buy into Satan’s lie that there is really nothing wrong with it and you are able to sin without a second thought.

The first chapter of James gives just such a description of falling into sin’s trap. James says that we are tempted, then fall into sin and finally we experience death. It is a deadly trap that the enemy has. We begin to go down a road and feel wrong about it. However, we keep going and think we will experience some excitement or fun that we will miss if we listen to the Holy Spirit. His counsel gets fainter. Then we get caught.

The person that I told about losing their job made a bad decision. You must know that it was not just one decision but a whole string of decisions. Probably none of us would do some heinous crime if we’ve been walking with God. But little by little the devil can drag us away. We all can be deceived if we do not make the little decisions correctly.

How about you today? Maybe you feel that since you are Born-Again you have nothing to worry about. God knew that you would need help. That’s why he gives counsel in His Word and gave His Holy Spirit. He wants you to seek the friendship of Godly people so that you can get wise counsel.

Have you made bad choices? God will let you start again because of His mercy. Today you can choose life or death, blessings or cursing. Choose wisely.

Prayer-Father, we need Your help to stay on course. We ask that You guide us today. If we have grieved the Holy Spirit in past times and now find that we don’t hear His voice we ask for Your forgiveness. May we study Your Holy Word so that

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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One Response to "Bad Choices"

  1. I went through the same thing within the Common Church and leadership, it was a real struggle at first, I thought I was being “legalistic” as I was being told that was what I was doing and that we were now in the “New Testament times.” I am married to a wonderful woman, and she once told me, “you can’t straighten out the church Matthew.” I did receive my answer from a gentleman one day.He said,”the church can’t use the world to bring people to Christ, because the flesh loves the world, and Christ demands the crucifixion of the flesh.”
    Your content, about choices is so true, and so sad. For in the age we live in, I believe that most people spend little time with God, about the choices they are making for their children’s future.
    It is always good to hear others who walk a sound life with Christ. I will continue to read some of the post on this sight. May the Lord enrich your words and may your home be filled with the Holy Spirit.
    In Christ Matthew and family

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