“MAKING WISE CHOICES”                            By Pastor YAU

Text: Galatians 6:7-9                                           November 4, 2007.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A bad choice: It seemed innocent at the time. I had just come home from high school and told my mom that I was going to a friend’s house to play football. She insisted that I stay home and do my homework. Instead of listening to mom, I slipped out the back door and spent the next 2 hours making tackles and touchdowns in my friend’s backyard. But on the last play, I was tackled into a swing set and my front tooth was knocked out. It hurt like crazy, but not as bad as telling my parents what had happened.

2)   A big price: The choice to disobey my mom put me on a 10-year path of dental problems and pain that has continuing implications even today. The famous ballplayer Roy Hobbs said in the movie, The Natural, “Some mistakes you never stop paying for.” Centuries ago, Apostle Paul captured the same idea in the universal law of sowing and reaping. He said, “Whatever a man sows, that’s what he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7)Our choices often have far reaching impact that we could never imagine at the moment. Thus, the Apostle’s words remind us to choose wisely and carefully.

 

BAD CHOICES AND GOOD CHOICES:

1)    A bad choice: (Genesis 3:1-7)Everyone should realize that the choice of Eve to follow the suggestion of the devil is a real bad one. Instead of choosing to believe what God had warned her and Adam, she chose to believe the devil and to follow her heart’s desire. That bad choice has far reaching implication beyond her wildest imagination: involving the whole human race in rebellion against God and sin. No one knows what this world would be like if Eve just chose to obey God instead of obeyed the devil.

2)    Another bad choice: (Genesis 16:1-3) Abraham, the father of faith, had made a real bad choice: he chose to listen to his wife, Sarah, instead of listening to God on the issue of having a son. By choosing to listen to Sarah, he planted the seeds of a war between his two sons Ishmael and Isaac. That choice has put the people of Israel, God’s covenant people, in jeopardy and suffering that has cost countless lives in many centuries. The fact we face the war of terrorism is directly from his bad choice. What kind of world it would be like if there were no Ishmael and his descendents.

3)    A good choice: (Genesis 39:7-12)This is about Joseph who some considered as Jesus in the Old Testament. If he chose to accept the advance of that evil woman, the wife of his master, and had some illicit relationship with her, the history of Israel would have been disastrous. But Joseph chose to fear God as he told the woman, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Because of his wise choice, the family of Israel was saved and God’s plan of salvation of mankind continues.

4)    The best choice: (Ephesians 2:5-8) When Jesus chose to be obedient to God’s plan for the salvation of man, He was willing to die on the cross to pay to price of the sins of all men. The godly nature in Jesus supersedes the human nature which asked God to remove the cup from Him if possible. But He surrendered His will to the will of God when He said, “Not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Even though Jesus came for the purpose to die, yet He still exercised His obedience to the Father that the plan of salvation will be completed. His choice to obey God laid the foundation for salvation of all men.

 

WHY DO WE MAKE BAD CHOICES?

1)   Because of the evil force: Regardless of your belief on the origin of evil force, the evil force is there in this world and in our hearts. The Bible calls it the Devil, Satan or the Evil One. We may call it temptation or human weakness. That evil force is here and is in us even before we were born. It was that evil force that pushed Eve to accept the enticing suggestion from the Devil. She wanted to be like God. When man and woman take life into their own hand and make decision according to their desire in disregard of God and His authority, we always make bad choices. Peter said, “Your enemy the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

2)   Because of selfish desire: When Sarah, the wife of Abraham suggested to her husband to take Hagar to be his second wife and to have a son, she was not really thinking for the sake of Abraham but was thinking of her own position in the family and among people. “Go and sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I may be built up through her.” (Genesis 16:2)All she was thinking is how to build herself up, to save her name and reputation from the shame of childless. When man makes his decision based on his own interest and desire, he can only make bad choices.

3)   Because we lack wisdom: Before King Solomon warned his readers not to make bad choices by following the evil and the wicked (Proverbs 1:7-19), he encouraged his readers to heed wisdom in 1:1-6. Then he gave further warning to the fools who despise wisdom from 1:20-29. He concluded, “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the compla-cency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me (wisdom) will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (1:30-31)Many of us made bad choices not because we willfully want to do evil but because we just don’t know what is good. All of us love to make good choices but we just don’t have the wisdom to do that.

4)   Because we don’t know tomorrow: Consequences of choices usually won’t come until much later (some comes right the way like that in the story at the introduction). Time and place will make things changed beyond our control or knowledge. We can only make decisions according to our knowledge and experience here and now with our very limited ability to plan and to predict. Many of the choices we made seemed good to us at the moment but turn out to be so bad later.

 

HOW NOT TO MAKE BAD CHOICES? (Ref. Galatians 6:7-9)

1)    Do not be led astray: “Do not be deceived.” (6:7a)Paul was writing to Christians who have placed their faith in the Lord. He warned them not to be led to other ways, sideways or byways. There are many wrong ways, wrong teachings, wrong priorities and wrong directions of life trying everyday and everyway to lead us away from the right way, God’s way. The translation in this sub-topic is a direct translation from the Greek. Follow only God and His way. Never turn this way or that way besides God’s way, or you will be led to the wrong way.

2)    Do not disrespect God: “God cannot be mocked.” (6:7b)A heart that respects God will guard you from making stupid choices. King Solomon repeatedly asked that “The FEAR (respect) of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Never take God lightly or disregard His warning.

3)    Do not ignore natural law: “Whatever a man saws that is what he will reap.” (6:7c)God created the nature with delicate balance. The good and the evil will bring forth their fruits in time. You may be lucky once but not always.

4)    Do not ignore sin and its effects: “The one who saws to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.” (6:8a)Destruction means ruin or rendered useless. This is about the end results of your life. No one likes to see his life rendered useless or ruin. So pay serious attention to sin and its effect in your life.

5)    Do not ignore the Spirit: “The one who saws to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (6:8b)We are talking about the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God in His spirit will always guide us to make wise and right decisions if we pay attention to his voice and obey his leadership. Willful disregard is sure way to fall.

6)    Do not lose zeal in doing good: “Let us not become weary in doing good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (6:9)Just as consequences of evil may nor come immediately following our bad decision, rewards of good decision may not come immediately follow our choices either. We just have to wait on the Lord and His righteousness and have faith in Him that He will reward those who make good choices.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Do an inventory: Sit down and write up a list of decisions you made in the past 3 years (5 or 10 years if you are in the 30s and older) and see how did they serve you? Are they mostly wise ones or stupid ones? How did those decisions affect your life in these 3 years? Are you a better person because of the decisions you made or the other way around? Be honest to check the list.

2)    Find out the reason: Either your decisions are wise or not, honestly find our WHY you made those decisions. This will give you a better understanding of your spiritual condition: if you follow your human instinct or God’s direction. It is never too late to change course to follow God’s guidance.

3)    Never too late: I am talking about accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior and ask Him to direct your life. Begin to read the Bible from Proverbs and Romans. God will show you the right way to make decisions so your life will be safer and at ease as He has promised us. (Proverbs 1:31)