Picking Your Path

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Weddings and funerals often make us think, don’t they? They tend to take our focus off of the temporal for a brief time and move our thoughts to the eternal. One thing I have really been thinking about with all of the weddings this past year is the fact that we all need to deliberately make a choice about what our lives are going to look like. When we grow up and leave home permanently we purposefully step towards the unknown and move away from the familiar.

If you are blessed with a wonderful family, leaving home can be hard. And yet you know that the bright future of your dreams isn’t possible without stepping out into the unknown and choosing the path, in this case, of marriage.

When we choose to get married, we are purposely choosing to leave our family homes (or our bachelor apartments) and live with someone else. Yes, there are risks and it is scary but we leave completely and start a new life.

If we would get married but still live in our childhood home, while our spouse lived elsewhere, it would raise many questions, wouldn’t it? Even when we, as adults, are forced to go back to our childhood homes for a brief period of time, we usually view it as a temporary setback. It is not viewed as our final destiny, but instead as a safe place to land during a difficult time.

As we wind up our reading of the kings of Israel in the Old Testament, I find myself thinking about the allegiance of these kings. If you have been keeping track –in your head or on paper– of which kings were evil and which were good, you will see that the majority were evil. No surprise there, as most men do choose the path of wickedness. You will also have noticed that some of the kings were sort of good, but chose not to serve God completely. And then you will notice that there are just a handful that served God whole-heartedly, removing the high places and re-establishing the temple practices.

When we look over all that was written about these kings, in particular, we can see that their works and success were directly correlated to their allegiance. If they served God, they were blessed. If they didn’t, they weren’t.

So back to my example of leaving home…

When we choose to get married, we must leave home. We can’t choose both paths. We cannot stay on our old path and get on the new path. It is physically impossible.

Why then, do we think we can choose the path of Christ, and yet stay on the path of the world?

This has been such a puzzle for me–these Christians that try to put one foot on the path towards Christ, while leaving most of their bodies on the path to destruction. The problem with this is that these paths are diametrically opposed and move further and further apart. Eventually, you can’t do the split that this requires and you have to pick a side.

If you are a believer, have you turned your back on the world? Have you denied yourself and decided to follow Jesus whole-heartedly?

We can see the destruction that occurred with the kings when they tried to live a life of compromise. And living a life of compromise at home would cause great problems, as well. Can you imagine your spouse telling you that they are headed to their parents each week for a sleep-over? Of course not. When we leave our homes to get married, we leave. To not do so is not normal.

So, why then, do we think we can live a life of compromise as believers? It goes against all that is not only written in the Bible but even against all that is logical. And yet many men of intellect inform us that we can– and some even tell us that we should–live a life of worldliness. They tell us we can be on both paths at the same time. That worldliness and holiness are not mutually exclusive.

But who are you going to listen to? Men who pretend to know what they are talking about or the Bible, which is very clear on this subject?

I can certainly understand the temptation to listen to the voice that is telling us what we want to hear. It is what so often gets us into trouble. One of the best things we can do is to hear the hard stuff from the Bible and then act on it in obedience.

I have absolutely no idea, as you read this, if you claim to be a believer. I do not know if you are straddling the fence right now or not. I have no way of knowing if you have pledged your allegiance to Christ but are living a life of great compromise, living for yourself instead of for the One who died for you.

What I do know is that to compromise is easy. To not compromise is hard. The only way to avoid it is to be consistently and purposefully living each day to serve God. This is why we are told to examine our lives regularly–

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5

Now for the really good news!

Sometimes, when we first trust Christ, we look back on our old lives with real longing. We think we are missing out on all of the fun and we long for the world. But this doesn’t last! The truth of the matter is that as we move towards holiness, we became much less enamored with the world. Just keep putting one step in front of the other towards the light and soon you won’t even miss the world.

 

 

 

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