To Do or Not to Do?
Arts or sciences? University or gap year? Every day we make decisions. Some are simple and quick, and others more significant and complex. A study by the University of Columbia found that on average we make more than 70 decisions a day.1 That means in an average life-span of seventy years, we would have made at least 1,788,500 decisions! As we journey from our teenage years to adulthood, our daily choices can either bring us closer to God or take us further away from Him. One of the greatest mistakes we as young people make is thinking that God is not interested in our decisions. He is very much interested, and He wants us to know He cares.
We should never shy away from making decisions, no matter how confused or scared we may feel.
What’s Love Got to Do With It? (1 Corinthians 13)
True love is unchanging; no matter what you do, the love will remain. The greatest example of this kind of love was shown at Calvary, when Jesus laid down His life for us all because God so loved us. What impact, then, does this kind of love have on our daily choices? What’s love got to do it? The answer is simple: love has everything to do with it.
We know that Jesus is our best choice for a role model. He came in person and showed us that it is possible to live a life that is pleasing to God despite this sin-soaked world. When we make someone our role model, we study their every move, every choice, and every motive. As we read every Gospel writer’s account of any of the interactions of Jesus with people, we will see that His primary motive behind every decision was love. Perhaps that is why John penned these words in 1 John 4:16: “God is love.”
Whether we realize it or not, our every decision is also driven by love, love for someone or something. A mother’s love is what wakes her up at odd hours of the night to feed her nursing child. A love for graphic design keeps a student motivated even when others grow weak. At the core of any decision, big or small, lies the love for either self and our will or God and His will. In our finite knowledge, we act based on what we “hope” will come to pass because of our choice; yet if we entrust our choices into the hands of an all-knowing God, we have the assurance that He already knows.
(Un)Controlling Love (Matt. 22:35–37; Eph. 1:1–4; 2 Tim. 1:8, 9; Titus 1:1, 2)
One of the most fascinating processes to watch is software development: looking at a line of code and seeing the finished product of an application such as Facebook or Instagram. You cannot help but stand in awe of the ability to make something do exactly what you want. Ever wonder why God didn’t do the same? Why not just program us to love Him? Why take the risk of granting us free will? The answer is very simple: “For God so loved the world . . .” God’s love for us doesn’t depend on our reciprocating it. He simply loves us. And that is why He wants the same kind of love in return. Forced love isn’t love at all; it’s a violation of your basic rights, and God is not forceful nor controlling. The gift of free will means that when we love God, we will love Him with everything we have, not love Him because we don’t have a choice.
Confusing Crossroads (Ps. 119:105; Prov. 8:11; 14:12; Matt. 7:24, 25)
We have advanced in knowledge at a remarkable rate, yet we still find the process of making a decision very intimidating. If only they offered Decision Making 101 as an elective at universities! Often, we shy away from making major decisions because deep down we know that there is always an inescapable risk, so we assume it is better not to decide at all. We bury our head in the ground and hope the decision will make itself and we can just go with the flow.
As children of God, we should never shy away from making decisions, no matter how confused or scared we may feel. God, in His love and mercy, constantly urges us to seek wisdom from Him and counsel from the righteous. His gift of wisdom is freely available to us. He will guide as we decide.
When the Going Gets Tough (Prov. 3:5, 6; 14:12; Heb. 11:24–26)
Moses grew up as Pharaoh’s grandchild with the glitz and glam of palace life, but he decided to leave that behind and follow God’s calling. In life, we will be called to make tough choices that will ultimately change the course of our lives, but we should always remember the path that appears easy may not necessarily be the right path. It would have been much easier for Moses to remain in the palace and live a life most dream of. But the path he chose, the correct path, was a lot more difficult.
The strength to make these tough decisions is not delivered to our doors neatly wrapped in a box. It comes from time spent seeking God through His Word and prayer. As followers of Christ, we can expect times in our lives when, just like Moses, we will have to make some tough choices; we will be called to take the path that we know will be more difficult, but ultimately, we will be in the will of God—which is the safest place to be in this world!
How do I know what God wants for me and for my life?