January 10-11, 2004
Multiple Choice. When I say those two words I don’t know what you think about, but I think about No. 2 pencils and SAT scores. I get kind of a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. My palms get sweaty because I never really liked tests that much. We’ve all taken multiple choice tests. We know what they are – a series of questions followed by a series of possible answers. People who do well on the tests circle the right answer; those who don’t, well, they suffer the consequences.
I was thinking a while back…life is a lot like a big multiple choice test. We’re presented with all of these questions followed by a series of answers. And those of us who choose the right answer, make the right choice, or make the right decision get the most out of life. Those of us who don’t, well, we suffer the consequences.
I’m in a brand new series called “Multiple Choice.” Over the next several weeks we’re going to talk about how to become a great decision maker, because I’ve discovered something. Life is all about decisions. We are all the sum total of the choices we make and our decisions determine our destiny. But I think all of us can look back in the past, and see that we’ve all made some dumb, “what was I thinking?” decisions. Are you like that? I’ve made some dumb decisions before. We all have. We’ve leased cars we shouldn’t have leased. We’ve bought houses we shouldn’t have purchased. We’ve dated people we shouldn’t have dated. We’ve gone places we shouldn’t have traveled. We’ve frequented websites we shouldn’t have frequented. All of us have things we’ve done in the past that are kind of “What was I thinking?” dumb decisions.
Speaking of dumb decisions, Britney Spears’ 55-hour marriage…what was she thinking? My boy Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter, feeding an alligator with his infant in tow?! What was Steve thinking? Saddam Hussein playing hide and go seek in a spider hole?! What was he thinking? People make some dumb, “What was I thinking?” decisions.
Well, let’s make great decisions. Let’s make strategic decisions. Decisions are unique because the whole ability to make a decision is God-given. Have you ever thought about that? We have the opportunity to reason, to think, to weigh different circumstances and situations because it’s God given. Animals can’t do that like humans can. The reason we’re different is because we’re made in the image of God. Our God is a great decision maker, and he wants all of us to become great decision makers.
We’re standing right here at a brand new year, 2004. And a lot of us love to make New Year’s resolutions. We resolve to quit smoking, start working out, or lose weight. All of these decisions are great. I love New Year’s resolutions. But most of us don’t know how to resolve.
Decision making is not just an event. I hope you realize that. Decision making is a process followed by an event. And we’ve got to understand the process behind the decision, and that’s why so many of us make those dumb, “What was I thinking?” decisions. That’s why so many of us are swimming laps in the pool of regret right now. We don’t really understand how to make choices, how to be wise, how to be discerning, or how to circle the right answer on those multiple choice tests.
I’ve discovered that some decisions we make are kind of reflexive; they’re intuitive. Others are more intentional. Some decisions we make are macro decisions, big decisions. What are the three biggest decisions that you face? Do you know what they are? I’ll answer that. In fact, I’ll answer it now. I’ll also talk about it later in this series. The three biggest decisions we face: Who’s your master? Who’s going to be your mate? And what’s your mission? Those are macro decisions.
There are also micro decisions. Things that we think might be insignificant or no big deal. Yet, I’ve discovered that micro decisions, when they collect, when they accrue you could say, they turn into macro issues. Also, macro decisions turn into micro stuff. So, the micro feeds the macro and the macro feeds the micro. We’ll talk more and more about that throughout this series.
What do I do when I face a big decision? And what do I do when I face what seems to be a small decision? Well, we’re going to discover that small decisions are just as important as the big decisions are.
A while back I was thumbing through a magazine and I saw something that was pretty funny. I saw an advertisement for an adult basketball camp led by Michael Jordan. You can pay this huge amount of money, stay in a top rate hotel and learn the game basketball from Michael Jordan, the greatest player to ever play the game. I thought that was kind of interesting.
But it’s not crazy. It’s cool. It is so… human. We love to learn from the best, don’t we? Let’s say your daughter can sing. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could pick up the phone and call someone like Celine Dion, let your daughter sit at her feet and let Celine teach your daughter how to sing? That would be pretty cool. How about the golfers here? Hey golfers, wouldn’t you love to call up Tiger Woods on the phone and hang out with him for a couple years? Wouldn’t you love to have Tiger tweak your game? It’d be pretty cool. We love to sit at the feet of the experts, to learn from the best of the best.
Well, today, in our first session on Multiple Choice, our first session on decision making, we are going to sit at the feet of the greatest decision maker of all time. We’re going to learn from someone who never made a bad call, someone who never overreacted, someone who never said something he regretted, someone who never got carried away by his feelings. You know who I’m talking about. I’m talking about Jesus Christ.
Now, I can read some of your faces right now. Some of you are saying, “Well, that’s great, Ed. We’re talking about Jesus. But how can I relate to Jesus? I mean he’s the Son of God. I’m not God. I’m a struggling sinner. I have all of these regrets in my past. I’m swimming laps in the pool of regret. I mean, how can I learn from Jesus? I think I’ll count ceiling tiles and lights and…”
Don’t do that. We can all learn from Jesus, because we have to remember something. When Jesus was here in the flesh, he was fully God and fully man. It’s something that we can never truly comprehend. The Bible does say, though, that Jesus had the limitations around him of the flesh. He was tempted. He was tested. He was tried. He went through things and processes and decisions just like we go through. So we can learn from him. And I want us to see the process that Jesus went through while he made decisions, because that’s our standard. That’s our anchor in making decisions.
Jesus, as you know, grew up and became a carpenter. Back in biblical times when you were a carpenter, that meant you took up the trade. You were responsible for the foundation work all the way to the finish out. Jesus was a man’s man. He had to carry all that lumber and work with all that was tough stuff.
During the last 36 months of his life, he was an itinerant preacher. The Bible says a guy named John baptized him when Christ went public with his ministry. After he was baptized, Jesus went into the wilderness. He didn’t ride in an H2. He didn’t ride in a Hummer. He walked. (Come on…that joke was kind of funny!) He walked into the wilderness. And I’ve been to the area where the temptation of Christ took place. It’s a desert area with towering mounds; a tough area. To live there for forty days, man, that was tough in and of itself. And the Bible says Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. After he had fasted, he was emotionally and spiritually and physically drained. The evil one comes along and gives Jesus this multiple choice test. He formulated this test that he had crafted to mess Jesus up, to get Jesus to settle for second best, to get Jesus to make a dumb decision, a “What was I thinking?” decision. That was what Satan wanted to happen. Well, let’s see what happened.
Satan took Jesus and he said, “Jesus, I know you haven’t eaten for forty days and forty nights. Look at these rocks. The rocks look like the bread sold on the streets of Jerusalem. There’s nothing like bread, especially carbohydrates, you know, when you’re hungry. Just snap your fingers and turn the stones into bread. You can do it. You’re God.” And Jesus had a decision to make. What would he do?
Matthew 4:4 (NKJV): “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Then Satan took Jesus to the top of the temple. He said, “Throw yourself down. You’re not going to die. People will see this miracle, and they’ll follow you. You’ll kind of be like Evil Knievel. People will say ‘Wow! Ooh, aah! I’ll follow him!’” What did Jesus do? He had a decision to make. What did he say back to Satan?
Matthew 4:7 (NKJV): “Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”
Well, then Satan turned up the heat. He said, “Jesus, bow down and worship me. If you do that, I’ll give you everything.” What did Jesus say?
Matthew 4:10 (NKJV): “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
MACRO QUESTION #1 – “IS IT WRITTEN?”
Jesus went three for three. This was the first “three-peat” mentioned in the Bible. He jammed Satan every time. I hope you saw a reoccurring phrase. Surely you saw it. “It is written.” “It is written.” “It is written.”
What was going on? How did Christ make this decision? He asked himself this simple question: “Is it written? If it’s in the book, if it’s in my Father’s word, then I have a green light and I’ll do it. I’ll go for it. If it’s not, then there’s a red light and I won’t do it. Many of you right now are facing decisions, big decisions, serious decisions. Maybe you’re facing a relational decision, a financial decision, a decision to move or not, to take this job or not, or to major in a certain subject. Whatever it is, ask and answer this question. “Is it written?”
I run into people so often who tell me their stories, and so many times their stories begin with two words: “If only.” They say, “Ed, if only I’d said no to that adulterous relationship.” “If only I’d stayed in the marriage.” “If only I hadn’t of said that to my son.” “If only I hadn’t of gotten into that business deal.” “If only I hadn’t of been so greedy.” “If only I hadn’t of been so stubborn.” “If only, if only, if only…”
But here’s the amazing thing about God. God can work through our “If only’s.” He can work through our pasts, our dumb, “What was I thinking?” decisions, and he can use our past as leverage to help us in the present to make amazing and great and wonderful decisions that will give us great trajectory for the future. Well, how do we do it? We have to ask and answer one question: “Is it written?” It’s the same question that Christ asked himself.
We have to have a standard when it comes to decision making. Christ is the standard. The word is our authority. Like Fellowship Church, for example. Our authority is not man made. Our authority is the Bible. We’re simply a Bible teaching, Bible preaching church. When we have a question at Fellowship Church, we ask, “What does the Bible say? Is it written?” If it is, we do it. If it’s not, we don’t do it. It is very, very simple. Your life and my life should be the same. God has taken so much time and energy to write down his counsel, to write down his word. And his word is here for all of us to experience the best for our lives.
But often times people bring in a negative bias towards the Bible. They have all these presuppositions like, “Well the Bible was written to rain on my parade. The Bible was written for me to have a horrible time. God is this mean-spirited judge, and you know, I’m not sure about that.” Some of us play a game called “You be the editor.” We say, “I like Psalm 45. That’s good. I’ll follow that. But oh, over in Matthew 5? Hmm, I’m not sure about that. Genesis Chapter 2, yeah! Revelation 3, no.” But we can’t do that.
Have you ever wondered why the guidelines and guardrails are mentioned in the Bible? They’re mentioned in the Bible for several reasons. First of all, they’re mentioned so we can have the best life possible. So we can discover God’s awesome agenda for our lives. That’s why the Bible was written.
Another reason we have the guidelines is because God wants us to make wise decisions. He knows that if we make dumb decisions, we’ll hurt others. So he wants to help us help ourselves. And he wants to help us make decisions that will influence others.
I almost die laughing when people say, “You know, my decisions don’t really affect other people, you know. They really don’t. You just have to do what’s right to you, and that’s your deal.”
Hey, that’s one of the dumbest things that we can say. The bottom line is this. Everything you do, everything I do, every decision you make, every decision I make; yeah, it affects us, but it also affects someone else. If you think it doesn’t, I have to ask you, “What are you smoking?”
Here’s another reason why God has given us those guidelines in Scripture. God wants us to make the most of time. Think of time for just a second. Think of the fact that time is a gift from God and how we can’t go back and get more time. Isn’t that wild to think about? And the older I get the more I think, “Where did the time go?” Are you like that? I’m 42 now and I’m thinking that it was just like yesterday that I was 22 or even 17. All that time just flies! So if you only have a certain amount of time, as a Christ follower, I’m to make the most of time. I’m to make the most of the macro moments and the micro moments. So, I’ve got to realize that God knows how I should allocate and steward my time. And when I make decisions and choices about my time using this question, “Is it written?”, then I’m going to make the most of my time. I’m going to live the best life possible because God has our best interest in mind. He wants you and me to achieve our best. He wants us to help others and he does not want us to waste time. That’s why we have the guidelines and guardrails in Scripture.
But here’s the transition: most people don’t have a standard. Most people don’t have a right or wrong. Most people don’t have Scripture or God as their truth source.
Let’s say you went to a school called “The School of Relativism,” and the professor who was a relativist handed out a multiple choice test. Imagine if he said, “Hey, you’ll see a series of questions and a series of answers; just circle the answer that you feel is right. There’s no right or wrong. There’s no standard, just circle it. Because whatever is right in your eye is right.”
“Wow,” you would say, “that’s wheel’s off. That’s nuts. That’s crazy!” As we say in Texas, “That dog won’t hunt. That’s ludicrous. I mean to have a standard-less, base-less test?! I mean, there’s got to be a right or wrong answer.”
Well, when we don’t go God’s way, when we don’t have him as our absolute, then everything is relative. There’s no right. There’s no wrong. Everything slides on a scale. It slides with the situation. And if I make decisions like that, I am messed up. And here’s what’s so funny about relativists. Relativists are absolute about relativism – which is a self-refuting world view. They are absolute about having no absolutes.
Everything in life has absolutes just like the law of gravity and the laws of physics. I can argue it. I can debate it. But when I let go of the Bible, it’s going to drop. That’s the law of gravity. You can say, “Well, there’s no such thing as spiritual laws, and there’s no such thing as real truth.” But there is.
You can debate it and argue it and say it’s not true, but truth is truth. The reason so many people make dumb decisions, wheels off, “What was I thinking?” decisions is because we look to ourselves instead of God. And when I look to myself, I don’t trust myself, and you better not trust yourself either. When I’ve trusted myself I’ve done some dumb things.
Well, let’s get a little bit deeper. What do we say when we look to ourselves and trust ourselves? We say stuff like, “Go with your heart.” When you face a big decision, just go with your heart. That’ll do it. You’ll bat a thousand there. Just go with your heart.”
Here’s another one. “Let your conscience be your guide.” You remember Jiminy Cricket? [Ed begins to sing…] “When you’re feeling sad and blue, there’s nothing else to do, give a little whistle. [whistle]” Jiminy Cricket used to say, “And always let’s your conscience be your guide.”
Your conscience?! What tweaks my conscience might not tweak yours. It’s a sliding scale. You may say, “Well, I’m really I’m convicted about this.” But I may say, “Well, I’m not.!” Your conscience?!
Now, we’re going to find out your conscience is important in decision making when you first of all establish God as your true source, the Bible as your authority. It’s got to be tied into that, but just to let your conscience be your guide is a mistake. Oh!
Here’s another one that we like to say: “If it feels right. Let me give you some advice about decision making, man. If it feels right, do it.” That sounds like Oprah. If it feels right? I didn’t feel like getting up today. You know what I feel like doing right now? I feel like fishing. That’s what I feel like doing. Or maybe we say, “Well, I don’t feel like I love my husband anymore. He’s not meeting my needs.” You don’t feel like you love your husband anymore? What? Feelings? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Feelings are fickle. There are many times, and Lisa and I have a great marriage, an awesome marriage; but there are many times when I don’t feel like loving Lisa like Christ loved the church. I just don’t feel it. Talk to Lisa. There are many times when she doesn’t feel like loving me. And if these people all the time are saying, “Well, I want to meet somebody where I have the feeling 24/7, you know, that would be great!”
The most important decisions, the macro decisions are commitment – pledging yourself to a position no matter what the cost. Now, feelings will flow from those commitments. Do I have feelings of love toward Lisa? You better believe it. Our marriage is better now, more romantic today than it was 22 years ago. But it’s not 24/7. But those feelings follow the commitment that we’ve made. Sometimes I don’t feel like reading the Bible. Sometimes I don’t feel like praying. Feelings? Please, don’t go there.
Here’s another one that’s funny. “What you do in the privacy of your own home is your own business.” I understand that to a certain degree, yeah, but… Here’s what I’ve discovered. Here’s what’s so funny.
Let’s say for example that you wanted to buy one of these Hummers, an H2. Have you seen those H2 Hummers? Those are cool trucks. Let’s say you’re going to buy a Hummer. You’ve saved up and you’re going to go to the Hummer dealership to buy one. And you think that it’s just a private decision. You think no one will know it. It’s just you buying a Hummer. So you buy the Hummer. But guess what? It might be private for a while, but after a while people are going to notice, “Hey, John, new ride! Hummer? Wow! Pretty awesome. I’ve never seen one of these things. Look at the size of those tires! Wow!” What happened there? The private decision all of a sudden went public.
Let’s say you want to buy a house. You say, “I like that house in that neighborhood in that zip code. The kids would like that. I’ll buy the house. You know, no one will know. It’s private. You know I’m just buying a house.” Now, you think that no one will know, but yes they will. Give it a couple of days. People will begin to say, “Whoa! You got a new house? Really? Can I see it? What’s your décor?” That private decision all of a sudden went public. Whatever I do in private, whatever you do in private becomes public. I don’t care what it is. It does. It influences someone or something else.
When you face a decision ask yourself this question, “Is it written?” Say, “God, you’re my standard. You’re my true source. I know you have my best interest in mind.” And just think about it. Had all of us turned to the Lord and asked us one question, we would not be swimming those laps of regret in the pool of remorse, would we? We wouldn’t be there. We’d have saved all this time, all this trouble, all this money and energy if we’d just asked, “Is it written?” That’s the big macro question we’ve got to ask. “Is it written?”
MACRO QUESTION #2 – “IS IT LOVE?”
Here’s another one. This other ones going to be very, very short. We’re looking at Jesus, specifically John 9:1. Let me read this first and then I’ll elaborate. “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth” (NKJV).
I don’t have time to read the whole text, but here’s the situation. Picture a dusty, dry Sabbath in the Middle East. Picture a beautiful temple. Now you see Jesus walking with his disciples outside the temple, maybe in a courtyard area. And there were a lot of Pharisees milling around. Pharisees were these condescending, legalistic, religious people. And Jesus was against religion. He was. Jesus was all about a relationship, not a religion. Pharisees were religious on steroids. They made up all of these laws; hundreds of things you could not do on the Sabbath. For example, they had a certain amount of steps you could take on the Sabbath. “Uh-oh, you took more than X amount of steps. [honk] The fringe on your garment had to be a certain length. If it was too short or too long, [honk].” It was wheels off, crazy, ludicrous stuff.
All of a sudden, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. You can feel the decision. You can feel what’s hanging in the balance. What does Jesus do? Does he obey the law, the man-made law of the Pharisees? Or does he obey a higher law, the law of God’s supernatural, one-of-a-kind love. What does Jesus do? He asked himself the second macro question. “Is it love?”
After asking that question, he said, “Yes, it is love.” So what did he do? He healed the blind man. The Pharisees went on tilt. They said, “Oh, this guy can’t be from God. He’s working on the Sabbath because he’s healing. And that’s just, oh, that’s horrible! Let’s take him out! Let’s kill him!”
When you have a decision to make ask, “Does it fulfill the law of love?” Because one day Jesus was asked this question: “Jesus, what’s the net effect of everything you’re talking about?” Do you know what he said?
In Matthew 22:27 Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Then he said in verse 39, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
When I make a decision, when you make a choice, we’ve got to ask, “Is it love? Is it fulfilling the law of love? Am I worshipping God? Will this be an act of worship and am I treating others as more important than myself?”
You know what’s so funny about the Bible? The Bible never tells us to love ourselves. God just knew we’d do that. I just love Ed. I just naturally protect Ed. I just do. And you, you love yourself, too. Don’t act like you don’t. We have a hard time, though, naturally. We say, “I’m not going to love another person more than myself.” Yet, when this law of love is operative in my life and yours, supernatural things happen and we begin to put other’s needs before our own. When you’re making your decision, is it love? Does it fulfill the law of love to your spouse, to your kids, to your coworkers, to your friends? What if a thousand other believers were looking over your shoulder? Does it fulfill the law of love?
Jesus had the option that day in the temple. Did he do what was customary or compassionate? He went with compassion. He healed the blind man. I can’t stop here, because some of you might leave here and go, “Oh, love is only about compassion, you know. It’s only tender. It’s only about Jesus healing a blind man.”
Not only is love tender, the law of love is also tough. Not only is it compassionate, many times it is confrontational. Really?
Do you remember the rich young ruler in Matthew 19? This guy was rolling in the bling-bling. He was a heavy hitter at the zenith of his life. He was doing a lot of things right. Read it in the text. And then he came to Jesus. He came to Christ at the right time. He came to Christ with the right posture. He knelt before Christ. And he asked Jesus the right question.
“Jesus,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus had a decision to make. What was he doing to do? Would he placate the rich, young ruler, this power broker? Or would he speak the truth in love? After all, this guy had a lot of money. He could have used his money to help finance Christ’s ministry. Jesus could have told this guy what he wanted to hear. But what did Jesus do? I’ll tell you what he did. As you read the text, you can feel the love and compassion Christ had for him. But Christ loved him enough to tell the truth and he said, “There’s one thing you lack. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor and follow me.”
You may be thinking, “Well, Ed, are you saying every Christian should sell everything and give it to the poor and follow Christ.” No, no. Jesus met a lot of men and women in the Bible who were loaded. He didn’t ask them to sell everything. Why did he ask this guy to sell everything? Because he knew stuff was his stumbling block. He saw it. Yes, this rich, young ruler had stuff, but really stuff had him.
We all have different amounts of stuff. It’s relative. It is. Some have a lot of stuff. Some have a little bit of stuff. Some have medium piles of stuff, and that’s cool. Do you have stuff or does your stuff have you? If you have stuff, then you realize that your stuff is not your stuff; it’s God’s stuff. But if stuff has you, then you don’t understand that really your stuff is God’s stuff. And if your stuff has you, it’ll have you. It will rule you and own you and every time you make a decision you’ll ask, “What about my stuff. What about my stuff, man? What about my stuff?? Your stuff is not your stuff. When you clock out in a couple of years, are you going to take the stuff with you. I’ve never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse. Maybe you have.
Jesus loved him, and the rich, young ruler couldn’t handle it. He turned and walked off.
We need to obey the law of love in our lives. Some of you who are believers, let me just talk to you straight up. Maybe you may have been playing golf with a certain guy for a long time. Maybe, ladies, you’ve been working out with a friend for a long time, or having coffee with this person or that person. Maybe you know that they do not know Christ personally. The law of love would challenge you and challenge me to share the good news of Jesus with them. Don’t sigh and say, “But Ed, I don’t want to rock the boat. I’ll just placate them.” The law of love would challenge us as believers to say to them, “Hey, if you were to die tonight, do you know where you’d spend eternity?
The law of love challenges us to do that. Maybe some of you as believers have some friends who are in the deep weeds maritally. Maybe one is involved in an adulterous relationship and you say, “Well, I’ll just placate them, you know. I’ll just tell them that God loves them and that I’m praying for them.”
What?! Don’t yell at them or brow beat them, but speak the truth in love. Say, “Hey, wake up. Smell the coffee. Smell the Scripture. You are messing up. You’re messing up. You need help.”
Parents with teenagers, draw the line in the sand. Teenagers always want to find where that line is, you know, and then a lot of parents are like Etch-a-Sketch parents. You draw the line and erase it and draw another line and erase it. The kids ask, “Where are the lines? I’m not sure where the lines are located.”
You’ve got to keep the line where it is, and if they step over the line there are consequences. That’s tough love. That’s the tough side of love.
There are many things that I do not want to say up here on stage. I know I have to because I have to speak the truth in love. It’s not popular sometimes to talk about some of the things that I talk about from God’s word. But I’ve got to do it. So do you. We have to do it, though, in love. We can’t be mean-spirited. We can’t be ugly. We can’t bark at someone. We’ve got to be strong. But don’t think that Jesus was just tender. He had a perfect blend of being tender and tough.
MACRO QUESTION #3 – “IS IT ON THE AGENDA?”
The big macro questions: Is it written? Is it in love? And this last question I’ll get more into next week, but let’s talk about this one briefly. It’s another macro question Christ asked himself. “Is it on the agenda?”
Look at the temptation of Christ, for example. We just talked about that for a while. Everything Satan tried was about getting Christ off-purpose. But Christ knew his agenda.
Look at Luke 19:10. Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Lost? Well, that’s you and me. That was his agenda – to live a sinless life, to die a sacrificial death on the cross and to rise again. That was his purpose. When Christ was hanging on the cross a couple of hours before he died, with his flesh tearing and his blood pouring out of his wounds and gasping for breath someone in the crowd said, “Hey, Jesus, if you’re the Son of God just, just, just come off the cross.”
Now, I want to ask you a question. Have you ever experienced a lot of pain before? Real physical pain? I have. Maybe you have blown your knee out, sprained an ankle, broken a finger. Maybe you were in the hospital…whatever. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in pain, I want some relief. “Nurse, give me some kind of shot or something to ease the pain. Doctor, please help me. My back is hurting. I can’t take it anymore.” That’s just human nature.
Jesus was fully God. He was also fully man. Can you imagine the pain he was going through? It was tempting for him to save himself. He may have thought, “Maybe I can come down off. I can come down off the cross. I’m Jesus. I can come down and people will see that, and they’ll follow me and maybe my Father didn’t really mean for me to do the whole thing, to go through the whole deal. So I’ll just come down from the cross.” That decision was hanging in the balance. I’m sure all hell was saying, “Jesus come down. You don’t need to do this. Come down.” But Jesus endured. He asked, “Is it on the agenda?” He knew the plan was for him to go all the way to death; to clock out for your sins and mine. He was buried and rose again. Is it on the agenda?
What’s the meaning of life? What’s your purpose? To recreate, procreate and die? That’s it? Are you just an educated ape? Wow! No, we aren’t. We’re made in the image of God. We have an agenda that God has set for us that would just blow a fuse if we could see it right now. Every life here matters to God. I don’t care who you are, what you look like, or where you’re from. I don’t care how many dumb decisions you’ve made. God has an amazing agenda for your life. You play a huge part in his redemptive role. But to do it, we’ve got to ask ourselves and answer these three big questions every time we face a decision. “Is it written?” “Is it love?” “Is it on the agenda?”
Next weekend, I’m going to talk about some micro decisions, because yes, these macro questions are huge, but these micro decisions and micro questions also need to be asked. We’re going to see how God’s agenda specifically plays out in all of our lives.
But the bottom line is this – the multiple choice test has been handed out. You’ve got the No. 2 pencil. God is cheering for you. He wants to guide you and lead you to circle the right answer. And the right answer is his answer.
God, thank you for this message on multiple choice, this message on decision making. God, you know in my life I’ve made dumb decisions. I’ve been in the pool swimming laps of regret asking myself, “What was I thinking?” God, you know I’ve had decisions where I did not ask, “Is it written? Is it Love? Is it on the agenda?” And God you know it; yet, you still guide me and lead me into decisions that you have for my life. And right now, as I begin this new year, I recommit my own decision making, my own life to going through this God grid every time a decision comes to me. It’s my prayer and also God, it’s my prayer that others will pray this same prayer.
Just say, “God, I want to go through this grid. Every time I’m facing this decision.”
I know many of you are in the throws of a decision right now, just, just ask yourself, “Hey is it written, is it love, is it on your agenda, God? God will show you. He will lead you. He will guide you to the path he wants you to take. Let’s put away all this feeling stuff and, and all of the emotion and all of the other things we tell ourselves that aren’t from God and let’s go with God. God is the author of true feelings and true intensity and only when we make decisions his way will we experience the true feeling that he wants us to experience.
God, thank you. Continue to show us the depth of this process as we continue in this series over the next several weeks. Bring us back next time as we talk about those micro decisions and those micro questions that we have to ask ourselves that will even clear up some of these macro questions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.