Article: OUR CHOICES AND ITS CONSEQUENCES | Jacob Varghese
We make numerous choices every day. Every day we are confronted with choices that affect our life as well as the life of others around us. Each day we make several choices. We choose to get out of our bed, we choose what clothes to wear for that day, we choose what we eat for breakfast, when we drive our vehicles we choose to be with in the speed limits or we take our chances to drive fast or over the speed limits. We choose to listen or not to listen to the advice given to us by our parents, family or friends. This process continues till the day we are alive. And the choices we make ultimately become our responsibility. But remember all choices will have consequences. When we make choices we are actually choosing its consequences also whether we are aware or not. In the long run we shape our lives and we shape ourselves by our choices. So what would be the most important choice we need to make during our lifetimes? Is it the career we choose or the investment we make, choice of friends, the person whom we choose to marry. I would like to see what the Bible has to tell about the choices we need to make. Let us go to the scriptures. Matthew 7:13 &14, here we are presented with the choice of path we choose. It reads “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” Here we are put forward with choices, two paths, two gates and two prospects. Two paths: the broad and the narrow. Jesus said that two roads and each person must choose which road to travel. About the two gates, there is a narrow gate and there is a wide gate. There is a place called heaven and there is also a place called hell. There must be a way to get there. There is a gate each to each place. Jesus said, I am door to the father’s house. In John 14:6 we read “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So we must choose to enter through this gate or choose to remain outside. There are two prospects, two futures. One of eternal destruction and the other of eternal life. Solomon the wise man wrote in Proverbs 15:24 “The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.” Yes, the choice is ours; the choice is up to us dear friends.
Let me take you to another scripture portion about our choices. Matthew 7:24-27 here we read “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Here again we are presented with choices. Two people, two foundations and two futures! Two people: the wise and the foolish. Dear friends, are we wise? One may be educated with the world’s best education yet he may be foolish to build upon the wrong foundation. Let us come to the two foundations-rock and sand. Will you build on a solid foundation of rock or a shifting foundation on the sand? He says those who hear his words, believes them and put it into practice or builds up on them, builds on a solid foundation. What is this solid foundation? Of course Jesus is referring to Himself as the rock, the solid foundation. Two futures- the wise endure the storm and the foolish fall. Following Jesus does not exempt us from life’s storms but when we follow Jesus we can endure even in the midst of a storm. Jesus is not teaching the parable about how to build our houses in protected areas away from rain and storm. But this is a parable about building our life up on a foundation. Not just for the temporary but our life upon a foundation that lasts for eternity much beyond this life we all have. In 1 Corinthians 3:11 it is said “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Dear ones, I want to take you all to that scene on the cross. Do you remember the two criminals on either side of Jesus? One chooses Jesus and the other curse Jesus. What were the consequences? The one who chose Jesus Christ went paradise and other did not. God created every one of us with the power to choose between good and evil. In the long run we shape our lives and we shape ourselves by our choices.
Let me conclude here by taking your attention to the familiar story of Lot’s choice seen in Genesis 13:5-18. This story teaches us a crucial lesson about life’s choices: Since choices often result in eternally significant consequences, we must choose in line with God’s principles. The herdsmen of Lot and of Abram were quarreling because there was not adequate land to support all their flocks. So Abram gave Lot his choice of land where to settle. Lot surveyed the land and decided to move down into the lush Jordan valley. That choice was the beginning of Lot’s gradual but steady spiritual decline. First he looked toward Sodom (13:10). Then he moved his tents near Sodom (13:12). Next we find him living in Sodom (14:12). There is a clear progression in this story. First, both Lot and Abram have increased wealth (13:2, 5-6). Their increased wealth leads to increased strife because there simply was not enough land for each of them. They didn’t have that problem before. Where did we ever get the notion that wealth will solve our problems? Some of the unhappy families in the world are those with the most money, where one member is set against the other, trying to make sure he gets his portion of the inheritance. The increased strife leads to increased responsibility for choices. The increased responsibility for choices leads to either increased wickedness as seen in Lot’s case, choosing Sodom or increased blessing as seen in Abram’s case, choosing Canaan. Since our choices have eternally significant consequences, how do we make good choices? Based on this story there are four basic principles here I want to explore with you.
Make choices which value relationships over rights. In verse 8 we see: “So Abram said to Lot, “Let us not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives.” Abram had a right to choose whatever land he wanted and let Lot take the leftovers. He was the older and the chief of the clan. God had promised the land to Abram, not to Lot. But Abram graciously yielded his rights and trusted God to give him his portion. What mattered to Abram was, they are brothers. He valued his relationship with Lot over his right to choose the best land.
Make choices which value godliness over greed. By faith, Abram had already renounced everything visible and opted for the unseen promises of God. So he had no need, as Lot did, to choose by sight. In verse 10 we see, Lot lifted up his eyes and chose the land which looked the best to him. He took off for the good life and left Abram literally in the dust, in dusty Canaan, where there had just been a severe famine.
Make choices which value fellowship with God over the approval of the world. We see again the two things that marked Abram’s life of obedient faith, the tent and the altar: Abram the pilgrim, just passing through; and, Abram the worshiper, bearing witness to a pagan world. You don’t ever find Lot building an altar in Sodom. He settled in Sodom and blended in with their corruption. He was popular and sitting on their city council, but Abram lived in fellowship with God and became known as the friend of God.
Make choices which value God’s eternal promises over immediate pleasure. Lot’s choice of Sodom was based on what would bring him quick gratification, but he did not take into account God’s promise to Abram about the land. After Lot moved to Sodom, the Lord reaffirmed His promise to Abram and even expanded on it. In Genesis 13:14-17 we see “The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” As believers we are to live by faith in the promises of God. When we face decisions, we take God into account and make those decisions in line with His promises and principles, not the immediate gratification of the flesh.
Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” There is a choice we need to make. Way back in the Old Testament history Joshua said the same thing in different words. In Joshua 24: 15 we see “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” We need to then choose for ourselves this day whom we will serve. Of the numerous choices we have to make throughout our life time, the most important decision is that of our personal salvation. Jesus confronts us with a choice, He invites us and we must make a choice to receive or reject Jesus. I encourage you all to build on the foundation and to make the right choice. The Bible is a book of God’s word given to us for our learning so that we can make right choices and avoid bad consequences so that we can enjoy the blessings and fellowship of God. As believers, there are two main choices: Trusting Christ as our savior and learning to become like him by following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Both have eternal consequences. Therefore, we must remember and understand that every choice has a consequence and so we need to make the right choices in our lives.