WHEN YOU HAVE A CHOICE TO MAKE
1. Joel 3:14 – “Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision!...”
2. That’s where our country will be this week.
3. It’s a good time for us to consider our ability to make such choices.
1. A Powerful Bible Image
a. Scenes in which people are called upon to make choices of far-reaching consequence are striking scriptural images.
i. Moses – Deuteronomy 30:15-20
ii. Joshua – Joshua 24:14-15
iii. Elijah – 1 Kings 18:20-21
b. Scenes like these have meaningful implications with regard to our nature as human beings.
i. We have the power to choose.
ii. Our lives and destines are not set by forces outside us.
iii. This privilege makes us responsible and accountable.
2. How to Choose Well
a. It may surprise you to know the views Christians have held toward our responsibility when there is an election.
i. Some contend that since God rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will, we should leave the matter to him and remain aloof from the political process.
ii. Others argue that the Lord may providentially use citizens to set certain leaders in places of authority, so we certainly should exercise our right to vote.
iii. Each Christian must think the matter through for himself in the same manner, and using the same principles, he would in making any other important choice.
b. So how does a Christian go about choosing well? If I knew I had a choice to make, here are the kinds of principles that I would want to guide my thinking.
i. If I had a choice to make, I would want to clearly identify the options that are really available to me.
(1) What actually lies within the realm of that choice?
(2) Jeremiah 21:8-9 – “And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you shall live and shall have his life as a prize of war.”
(3) Some things are beyond our ability to choose. I didn’t choose to live, but I can choose how to live. I can choose how to live, but I can’t choose how life works, for God has already done that. That means I can choose what to do, but I can’t choose that choice will lead.
ii. If I had a choice to make, I would want to thoughtfully evaluate that decision on the basis of values that are larger and more meaningful than that choice.
(1) Being human means choosing based on reason. One woman was at her desk when someone brought up some stands a candidate had taken on crucial issues in an election. Rising from her chair, she said, “I don’t want to hear it...I like him,” and walked out of the room. Good choices have to be more thoughtful than that.
(2) Genesis 13:11 – “So Lot chose for himself...”
(3) What are the ultimately important matters? Our Declaration of Independence identified them as things like “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Christians place the highest value on things like personal character, respect for life, the sanctity of marriage and family life, and individual freedom and responsibility.
iii. If I had a choice to make, I would want to commit myself to doing what I believed to be best – while I could do it.
(1) This would mean actually making a choice, taking a stand.
(2) Exodus 32:26 – “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, ‘Who is on the LORD’S side? Come to me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered around him.”
(3) No choice is a choice (Matt. 6:24; 12:30)
iv. If I had a choice to make, I would want to make it with a view toward what God would think of it.
(1) We are free to choose but we are accountable to him.
(2) An honorable choice will have grown out of a noble motive.
(3) Hebrews 11:24-26 – “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”
1. The success or failure of my life will be determined by the things I actually can choose, not by choices made by a group.
2. Matthew 7:13-14
a. There are two gates and two roads.
b. The wide gate leads on to a broad way, and is therefore popular. The narrow gate leads on to a restricted way which only a minority choose.
c. The decision between life or destruction is made in response to the gospel.
3. Have you made that choice?