Are your choices God-centered or self-centered? God has given us the power to make choices between good and evil; which choice would you prefer: a kingdom mindset or self-ambition? Joshua 24:15, (King James Version) says, choose you this day whom you would serve.Let us learn from some good examples, especially from our Master, the Controller, the Sovereign and Powerful God – the Almighty Jesus Christ. He made a choice to fulfill the eternal purpose of God our Father to be the propitiation for our sins.
Luke 22:41-42, And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. Jesus Christ our Lord willingly yielded to the will of our Father who had an eternal purpose for redemption.
Luke 19:10, For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
1 Timothy 2:4, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1 Corinthians 10:33; Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Jesus allowed Himself to be ridiculed, humiliated, crucified and He bled to death. He had the ultimate power to call legions of angels to destroy His accusers (the world) and set Himself free, but He chose to die alone for you and me. He could have sent an earthquake to swallow His accusers or rain fire and brimstone to totally destroy mankind, but He made a choice not to contradict God’s plan for salvation. All that came out of His mouth was “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” His mission was (is) to save all those who were lost, that by Him we would have eternal life. He had the kingdom mindset of eternal salvation; He opened heaven’s life gate that all may go in. Love was the foundation of His choice in winning souls for the kingdom.
How about you and me? Are we mindful of souls? Instead of choosing to focus on self, why not choose the narrow road of a disciplined life that would glorify the Father by making excellent choices. There are other examples of men with like passion who focused on glorifying God; they made excellent choices by their actions to honor our Father by fulfilling His eternal purpose in the lives of His people.
Joshua and Caleb: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not yet against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us; their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not (Numbers 14:7-9).Joshua and Caleb made an excellent choice by bringing back a good report after spying the Promised Land, despite what they saw. They knew God was more than able to give them the land. They brought glory to God and the younger generations were saved from perishing in the wilderness.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Daniel 3:16-18). They would not bow down to any graven image - even at the point of death. They made a God-centered choice and were delivered from the fiery furnace. They were a witness to Nebuchadnezzar of God’s ultimate power; their choice humbled the king and he glorified the God of heaven.
Daniel: But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, not with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of eunuchs...Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm (Daniel 1:8-9,18-20). Daniel refused to defile himself with the king’s delicacies and was found to be ten times better than the children of Babylon for God favored him for his choice. He did not fear the king’s decree but purposed in his heart to pray and seek our Father, bringing glory to His name.
Ezra: In Ezra 7:8-10, we read, And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. Ezra prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD and to do it. He was exhorting, encouraging, teaching, and turning the hearts of Israel to God so that His work would be accomplished in Jerusalem.
Mary: And Jesus answered and said unto her, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42). Guess what that good thing was: HIS WORD. Choose to read and meditate on God’s word.
Paul and Silas: And brought them to the magistrates, saying, "These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans." And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had lad many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway (Acts 16:20-33). Paul and Silas were not discouraged, dejected or depressed, but chose to bless and praise the LORD in the midst of their imprisonment in chains and shackles. Our God Almighty delivered them through an earthquake, they witnessed about our LORD Jesus Christ and souls were added to the kingdom.
Beware of these examples of bad choices and their consequences:
Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:16-17) made a wrong choice to disobey God. The consequence was death, but thank God for Jesus Christ, our atonement.
Cain (Genesis 4, 1 john 3:12-13) hated Abel and chose to kill him because Abel’s works were righteous.
Pharaoh (Exodus 14) chose to rebel against God and perished in the Red Sea.
The ten spies, due to fear, chose to give an evil report that diminished God’s power and scared Israel, rather than trusting in God and His promises. They all perished in the wilderness.
Samson chose a wife from the Philistines, Delilah, to whom he was unequally yoked. He suffered for his wrong choice, but our God was merciful in the end.
Good/sound choices focus on God and His intention. A wise man must discern the perfect will of our Father in winning souls rather than having selfish ambition by contradicting God’s intent for salvation. Let us always glorify our Father for He that wins souls is wise.