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The Power Of Decision
By J. W. Jepson, D.Min.
Life In Christ Center, 3095 Cherry Heights Road, The Dalles, Oregon 97058
copyright � 1998 by J. W. Jepson
All rights reserved, including the right to grant the following permission and to prohibit the misuse thereof:The Author hereby grants permission to reproduce the text of this article, without changes or alterations*, as a ministry, but not for commercial or non-ministry purposes.
*Permission is given for publication of excerpts and condensed versions.
(First published in The Pentecostal Evangel, October 18, 1981)
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Years ago my wife and I were visiting the Thwings, an elderly Christian couple, in their home in Prescott, Oregon. During the conversation Mrs. Thwing said something I shall never forget.
She told how for years she had been spiritually unstable, just serving the Lord of and on. "Then," she said, "one day I made up my mind!"
From that moment until the day of her death she was a stable, happy Christian.
"I made up my mind." That's it. Choose. Be decisive. Put an end to uncertainty. Settle the issue once and for all. The will is the key.
Everything purposeful is the result of decision. We get up in the morning because we choose to do it, not because we feel like doing it. We go to work or to school, fix meals, mow the lawn, and live for God for the same reason: we choose to.
Something important is at stake. We have a responsibility, and we have made a commitment. The matter is no longer under question. The heart is set--firm, steadfast.
The whole system of choice began with God. The universe itself with its huge, mind-boggling galaxies is there because God willed it.
God's sovereign choice, His eternal purpose, stand behind all creation. It is carried out both in the Law and in the gospel. The thuderings of Sinai and the agonies of Calvary--all are expressions of the majestic momentum of divine decision.
God is decisive. "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure," He declared (Isaiah 46:10).
We stand in awe before the wise workings of divine election in grace. "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," Jesus informed His disciples (John 15:16). And 2 Thessalonians 2:13 assures us: "God hath from the beginning chosen you...."
This choice involved His infinite foreknowledge of what He could do with us and in us. He chose us fully aware of the loving choices toward Him that would spring from our hearts in response to His grace. And so we are elect "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" (1 Peter 1:2).
God's sovereign choices are never risky or reckless. He is the unsurprisable God. He has always known what would be the result in us of His mercies toward us, and He has taken those results into account in the very sovereign purpose itself. Oh, the marvelous mystery of His wise will--at once irresistible and yet noncoercing, absolute and yet most reasonable.
In exercising His will God never violates the integrity of our human will. We respond; we do not merely react. Yet those responses are freely and fully our own, made voluntarily in total moral responsibility.
Thus out eternal destiny hinges on our own choice. If fact, our lives in general are the product of our own choices. True, events come into our lives that are beyond our control. Accidents, physical conditions, the choices made by others, and such things have a bearing on our lives. Yet if we choose God and His will--if we choose to trust Him to guide our lives--He will overrule and make it all work together for good (Romans 8:28).
Our choices have consequences. If I decide to throw a rock at a window, the rock is going to break the glass. It would be foolish for me to stand back and lament, "Why did God let the window break? Why did He let the rock hit it? Why did He let me throw it?"
Suppose the grocery store is 3 blocks east and 2 blocks north of your house. If you start from your house and go 3 blocks east and 2 blocks north, you will end up at the grocery store every time.
In the same way if we deliberately do things that will bring us to trouble, heartache, and ruin, God is not to blame. We are. Certain choices bring certain results. Sow oats, and you will reap oats.
Don't sow to the flesh and then blame God for the harvest. Generally we are where our own choices have put us.
Our choices are decisive. Shall we sow to the flesh and reap corruption? Or shall we sow to the spirit and reap everlasting life? The choice is ours. The results are of our own making.
Choice is pivotal in religion and morality. We are saved because we choose to trust Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord and enter into a steadfast commitment of abiding faith.
The same applies to the unconverted. No one remains a sinner against his or her own will. Those who reject Christ have made the wrong choice and will become Christians only if and when they make the right choice.
When Pilate asked, "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" the people responded, "Let him be crucified" (Matthew 27:22). It was a willful decision.
Moses made a better decision, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25). He made up his mind to serve God and not sin.
So did Ruth. "And Ruth said, ...whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God" (Ruth 1:16).
The Psalmist declared: "I have chosen the way of truth" (Psalm 119:30). It's as simple as that. If you want things to turn out right, choose the way of truth, the Bible way.
There was housework to be done, and Martha was busy doing it; but Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. "Mary hath chosen that good part," the Master announced (Luke 10:42).
If we want God's best, we must choose it. If we are going to pray, we must choose to pray. We will have what we choose to have. Spirituality is not the result of wishing. It is the result of deciding.
The same is true of Christian service. If you are preaching the gospel, teaching a Sunday school class, or working in the church nursery, it is because you decided to do so. You made a commitment, and you are holding to it.
If a month or so ago the pastor or Sunday school superintendent or some other leader in the church asked you to take on some responsibility of ministry and you are still mulling it over in your mind, you need to come to a decision. Make up your mind. Make a commitment and stick with it.
The gospel is one grand call to decision. Moses asked: "Who is on the Lord's side?" (Exodus 32:26). He urged the next generation of Israelites: "Choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Later Joshua issued a similar challenge: "Choose you this day whom ye will serve" (Joshua 24:15).
Centuries later we hear the same call from the prophet Elijah: "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him" (1 Kings 18:21).
When Jesus called His disciples, they forsook all and followed Him. Today He invites you: "Follow me." What is your decision?
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