Have you ever made a bad decision? Historically there have been some notable bad decisions. For example;
- In April of 1976, Ronald Wayne withdrew his 10% investment of $800 in a startup company that began with two twenty-year-olds in a garage named Apple Computers. Today that 10% investment would have been worth over 95 billion dollars. [i]
- In 1977, 20th Century Fox made a short-sighted deal with George Lucas by selling him the merchandising rights to the Star Wars franchise for a mere $20,000. Today the combined revenue from merchandising has exceeded three billion dollars and continues to grow annually.[ii]
As Christians, we have access to the wisdom of God in the scriptures and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us make wise and prudent decisions.
This doesn’t mean we won’t make poor decisions at times, but we have unrestricted access to the source of wisdom to help us avoid making poor decisions regularly.
In Genesis 2, after creating Adam, God planted two specific trees of which He told Adam, from every tree you can eat, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for when you do, you will surely die.
Have you ever wondered why God would plant such a disastrous tree in the garden? Free will.
Free will is God’s intention. Joshua 24:15 and Deuteronomy 30:19 remind us that we have been given a choice.
There are three fundamental truths about decision-making.
- We make our choices, and then our choices make us.
- We make our choices, but we don’t get to choose our consequences.
- Consequences are embedded into our choices.
In Matthew 7, Jesus presents His followers with a choice. The first choice is in how we interact with one another.
This is not a promise that if you do good to others, they will automatically do good back to you. We do good not because they deserve it but because it’s the right thing.
We must be intentional in doing good because our natural propensity is to retaliate before we forgive.
The second choice deals with two paths, two journeys, and two outcomes.
God frames this choice by laying out His preference for you, saying, “enter by the narrow gate.” God wants a relationship with you now and doesn’t want to spend eternity without you.
Yet no matter how much He wants to be with you, He will not restrict your right to choose, but He will do everything possible to convince you to choose life.
The Bible repeatedly reveals how God is ALWAYS on the side of life. Therefore, when presented with a situation where life or death is the option, God’s choice is life.
The word “enter” indicates a search or a pursuit. Abundant life now and eternal life are the destination of pursuing Jesus. Jesus mentions that this gate is narrow, and few find it. Few find it not because the entrance is hidden but because it requires pursuit.
Few choose the narrow path because it’s hard. Christianity is not an easy lifestyle. We must pick up our cross and die to ourselves daily.
- As human beings, there are things we want to say to others, but we choose to love instead.
- There are things our flesh wants to do, but we recognize sin and fight our human biases and resist.
- We leave vengeance to God, forgive others, love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us.
On the other side of the coin, there is a broad path that is wide open and easy. The expression “wide open” infers that it’s without moral boundaries or restrictions.
There’s nothing to resist because the motto of this choice is if it feels good, do it.
The easy path is licentiousness masquerading as freedom. But every action has a consequence.
I came across the following quote this week, which sums up the intent of sin.
“Sin will take you farther than you meant to go, keep you longer than you meant to stay, and cost you more than you thought you’d pay.”
Jesus makes it clear how this wide path leads to destruction.
The Greek word translated as destruction is multifaceted, carrying the meaning of temporal loss along the journey, sometimes immediate physical death, and ultimately eternal death.
No matter how much fun you have along the way, destruction is the outcome. But there is a better way.
Those willing to take the more challenging path, do the hard things, and endure the difficult moments will find life.
The word “life” comes from the Greek word “zoe” which means life in the absolute sense and without end.It’s an abundant life now and eternal life when this life ends.
And do not be deceived; God sends no one to Hell. Hell is a choice.
Satan and his fallen angels made a choice. Every day we have a choice set before us of life or death, Heaven or Hell. God will merely grant our request.
- Never allow pressure or pain to push you into the easy path.
- Never let the crowds convince you that you must be on the wrong path because of how hard it is.
To those who endure to the end will be saved, Matthew 24:13.