Virtually each moment of everyday, you have choices, these choices often require you to make a decision. Your decisions more often than not are simple; routine some decisions are almost automatic. Decisions regarding things like should I get up or remain in the bed all day, cream, sugar, both or neither in my coffee, or even vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream perhaps a shake. Maybe the decision is to eat healthier altogether or go for takeout…okay I better stop I’m getting hungry.
One of the great challenges and choices in life when faced with overwhelming distress is to take things into our own hands or leave them in God’s hands. In life, in the blink of an eye we can find ourselves suddenly in a moment of crisis, standing at a fork in the road, having to make a very conscious decision trusting ourselves, or resting in God’s sovereignty.
In 2 Samuel 15, we find King David having to flee the city of Jerusalem in the face of his own son’s treachery. Absalom had stolen the hearts of the citizens, turning them against his father, and was marching against Jerusalem. In the face of Absalom’s advance, David withdraws to avoid the bloodbath of a prolonged siege. Insult added to injury as David learns that his trusted friend and wise counselor, Ahithophel, had betrayed him. He was also informed that Mephibosheth, to whom he had shown great kindness, was also among the scoundrels who had conspired against him.
In the midst of this chaos and crisis, David does something interesting and inspiring. For the sake of the people, the king does a noble thing and sends Zadok, his beloved priest, and faithful friend, back to Jerusalem with the ark of the covenant (2 Sam. 15:25-26). David surmised that if it was God’s Will for him to return as king, he would do so. Hence, there was no need to keep the ark away from the sanctuary. The royal fugitive muses, “If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place.” If not, “Let Him do to me as it seems good to Him.” David does not take things into his own hands; he leaves things in God’s hands.
Perhaps, much like David, your life is in a tailspin. Things are seemingly out of control in your body, your home, your business, even your ministry for God. Your future may be out of your hands, in someone else hands. You feel extremely vulnerable and exposed. You want to do something, anything, but what do you do, when your choices are also limited. You want to act but you fear doing the wrong thing, will ultimately only make bad matters worse.
If that describes you, remember that even if power has been wrested from your hands, your times are in God’s hand (Psa. 31:15). Nothing happens to you except by the Will of God. Your emergency is in God’s hands. Your enemy is in God’s hands. In the midst of your losses, do not lose your confidence in the sovereignty of God.
Before you go too far and think okay, I will just give it to God and do nothing at all. God’s sovereignty over your live does not absolve you of your responsibility to exercise good judgment in your decisions just as King David did. Problems in life may quickly mount rushing at us like a runaway train, much like King David’s case. How then can we exercise good judgment in our decisions with trouble quickly mounting and surrounding us on every side?
Perhaps now Paul can provide a bit of insight on the subject. Not every decision in life is easy but it can be made easier by following a series of principles that Paul outlines in his first letter to the Corinthians. Especially in 1 Corinthians 8-10 here we find Paul instructing the Corinthians on how to make decisions in matters of conscience where there is no clear prohibition or permission from the Lord. The principles he teaches here are applicable to many situations today and help make the hard decisions seem easy.
EXPEDIENCE: Will it be spiritually beneficial (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23)? There are many things the Christian can do that are not wrong but are they spiritually enriching. Are they the best use of our time? Are they the best use of our powers, and gifts?
EDIFICATION: Will it build me up (1 Cor. 10:23; 14:26)? Before taking to a certain path in life we need to be sure that it will not work against our faith in Christ. Whatever we add to our lives must not subtract from our faith, its stability and strength.
EXAMPLE: Will it help or hinder other Christians (1 Cor. 8:9-13)? Any choice we make must bear others in mind. Our freedoms were not given to make us autonomous. We are given liberty in Christ in order to be the servants of others, not in order to indulge our own preferences. We must therefore be self-limiting in our choices.
ENSLAVEMENT: Will this pursuit control me (1 Cor. 6:12)? Given Christ’s unrivaled lordship over our lives and our own calling to be rulers over the earth we must not be mastered by anything in any choice that we make. Our choices must not be allowed to make a prisoner out of us.
EXALTATION: Will this activity glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31)? Man’s sole purpose is to glorify God therefore we have no choice but to do that which best glorifies God.
Sometime ago, I ran across and read something that appears very simple yet it stuck with me and now serves as a constant reminder. It reads like this…
“God gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him.”