1. Are the choices that we make important?
2. Will the choices that I make affect my eternal destiny?
3. Will the choices that I make have an effect on others?
God created us as creatures of choice.
We were created in the image of God with the ability to choose right or wrong.
Genesis 1:26 ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Joshua had led the children of Israel into the promise land, and is giving his farewell address before the time of his death. He presents this invitation because he realizes that one can only serve God in sincerity and truth if he has freely and willingly chosen, in his heart, to do so.
Joshua presents three options for them to choose from:
1. They could return to serve the gods of their ancestors.
2. They could serve the gods of the Amorites.
3. Or they could serve the only true and living God.
Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
15 ¶ And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods;
17 For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed:
18 And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.
19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.
21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.
22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.
24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.
27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.
28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.
Who did the children of Israel choose to serve?
-they chose to serve the only true and living God.
What did Joshua do with their decision?
-he made a covenant with the people and put something in place for them to remember what they had chosen.
How long did this decision to serve the Lord, last?
Joshua 24:31 And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.
This decision lasted about one generation.
Decisions are important but they are only a starting point.
Decisions help us start, discipline helps us finish.
Have I chosen to follow God?
-What commitments have I made before God?
It is important to choose to follow God but choices without commitment will get us nowhere!
Unless we rely on the Power of God to sustain us, we will fail miserably.
Will I finish well?
It is much easier to start something than it is to finish something.
There are three aspects that we should consider in order to make wise decisions or choices.
1. What are the facts?
2. What does God and His Word say?
3. Do I have a clear direction that I want to go, and what are my goals?
Proverbs 29:18a ¶ Where there is no vision, the people perish:
In order to make wise decisions, we need to know who we are serving.
Many people are deceived by serving money with their time, energy, and creativity.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Deciding to follow God means that I must set aside everything that competes with Him.
The greatest hindrance to making wise decisions is double mindedness.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
A double minded person is a person without foundation. (Vacillating)
He is like a wave of the sea that is driven with the wind and tossed. (Unstable)
This double mindedness involves the mind, will, and emotions.
A double minded person has divided desire.
On one hand he wants to do what is right, but on the other hand he wants to enjoy the pleasures of sin.
Moses conquered double mindedness by making a lifetime decision to identify with God and His people.
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Not many today will choose to surrender, commit, or suffer for the sake of Christ because sin has such a grasp on their life and the pleasure of sin is so enticing.
When Daniel was faced with a decision in Babylon about whether he would obey the Kings edict or God’s command, it was not a difficult choice, because he had predetermined that he would obey only God.
Daniel 1:8a ¶ But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself
We will either exchange temporal things in order to follow God’s will, or eternal riches for temporal things.
Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 ¶ And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Is there value in seeking wise counsel?
It has been said that one thing that we learn from history, is that we don’t learn from history…..how sad!
There are many that have gone before us that have paid a high price for wrong choices.
Proverbs 12:15 ¶ The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
Proverbs 19:20 ¶ Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
Proverbs 11:14 ¶ Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Wise decisions are based on God’s Word and His will, and not on our own inclinations.
Proverbs 14:12 ¶ There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs 28:26 ¶ He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
Every decision that Jesus made was based on the will of the Father.
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
The Will of God will never contradict the Word of God.
When we make decisions or choices based on feelings and emotion, we have opened the door to deception.
How can I know if the decisions and choices that I make or have made, are according to the Will of God?
Here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
-Is my use of money, food, clothes, marriage, family, time, and friends consistent with the purpose for which God created them?
-Can I make this decision with a clear conscience?
-Am I in harmony with all those involved or affected by this decision?
– Is this decision based on bitterness or anger?
-Have I surrendered my will to God’s Will?
-Will it cause someone else to stumble or fall?
-Is this decision fulfilling God’s calling for my life?
God has placed you here for a purpose.
He has a divine Will for your life.
Are you willing to follow Him, regardless of what it may cost you?
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
We have all made bad choices and had to live with the consequences of those choices but bad choices do not need to be the complete story of my life.
-God can change that and give me a new beginning, if I am willing to surrender Everything.
As long as I hold back on God, I can only expect confusion and disappointment.
There is the pain of self discipline and the pain of regret. Which pain do I want to experience?
At the closing of my life, will I be able to say with the apostle Paul;
2Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
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