Josh. 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
The bold choice made by Joshua serves as a template for making the wisest choice of all – the choice to serve God no matter what. Spiritually, every person has only two choices: serve God or serve self (do what you want to do no matter what). Choices are rarely presented quite so clearly. That’s because Satan is hard at work creating all that grey area, making it difficult for people to discern between foolishness and wisdom.
Consider how we choose to spend our time. A person might choose to work hard at their career, neglecting service to the Church. People may rationalize that they’re providing for their family, they’re not behaving immorally and it’s just how things are. Perhaps they say, “After I (get my career established, or get that bigger house, or pay off some debt, or earn a little bit more toward retirement or “fill in the blank”) I’ll devote more time to the Church.” They’re living in that grey area where poor choices are often made.
In reality, they’re serving themselves. They’re doing what they want to do instead of doing what God wants them to do. They think little of it because they convince themselves that God really doesn’t mind. Maybe they think God will wait for them to complete their choices before they get around to fulfilling His choices for them. So, in addition to serving themselves, they’ve elevated themselves to God’s level by deciding what God will accept. Satan is crafty. It works well.
The sentiments of Joshua speak volumes about how we should choose. We ought to focus on what God wants and what we’re able to do about it. With no regard to what others were doing, Joshua made up his mind how he and his family would behave – the choice they would make. “We will serve the Lord,” he said. Simple. Concise. Wise.
Our ability to look at our life in light of the scripture is necessary. Do we measure up? If not, what are we going to do about it?
James 1:22-25 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
God’s word tells us what manner of person we are, as God sees things. It also tells us what manner of person we ought to be. The Bible tells us what choices we should make so God will be pleased with us.
Knowing God’s word is critical to the process of choosing wisely. How many people attempt to make choices without even knowing what manner of person they should be? How can we possibly make wise choices when we don’t even know what God would like us to do?
An employee may decide to take some action he thinks will please the boss, even though he has no idea what the boss wants. His decision might be counter to the company policy or philosophy. He thinks the boss will like it, but his lack of knowledge about what the boss wants can lead to his being fired if his choices continue to displease the management.
The wise employee learns what his boss wants and does his best to deliver. It’s no different in God’s kingdom. We give him what we want to give Him hoping He’ll be pleased – or we behave wisely by making choices we know will please Him. It’s not hit or miss. We are able to know God’s will by knowing His word – the Bible.
Study the scripture. Examine the lives of Bible characters. Look at the decisions they made. Learn from them. Samson, David, Lot and others show us how we can make better decisions in our own lives. We can learn from their foolish choices. Moses, Paul, Abraham and Christ show us how to make wiser choices in our own lives.
Be sober. Take your Christian life seriously. Study God’s word. Decide to obey God, no matter what. Watch out for Satan’s attempts to get you into the grey areas where compromise happens.
1Pet. 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”