by Anita Miles
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Jude 1: 21, 24-25
So I’m not sure exactly what profound research was done to come to this conclusion, but did you know that scientists estimate that we (humans) make approximately 35,000 choices a day? One piece of research that I have previously read states that we make between 200-250 decisions a day solely about what foods we are going to eat. There is nothing that drives my husband crazier than to be in a drive through when one of our kids can’t decide what they want to eat. I guess it’s hard to understand how choosing between chicken nuggets or a cheeseburger could be so complex and time consuming.
There’s also the choices concerning what we’re going to wear, how we’re going to fix our hair for the day, and what our plans are going to be for any particular day. It gets a little more complex through life when it’s time decide on marriage, houses, careers, kids names, etc…. And this list could go on and on and on….
Interesting thing is, in all the decisions we make in a day, I’m always intrigued with the way we react when we make a decision that doesn’t have a desirable outcome. It is an inbred characteristic of human nature to downplay our role or involvement in our bad decisions. If we can project the blame to any other object or person, you better believe we’re gonna give it a try.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately or not, but everyone seems to be in the mood these days to blame everyone for their problems and bad choices. Back when I was young, one of the senior yearbook pages at my school for the year was themed “The devil made me do it…”. Still kinda aggravates me 30+ years later. It was the going thing back then to put the blame on him. Seems like Eve had that excuse too - and we see where that got her. All of creation has bemoaned her poor decision making since the beginning of time for being influenced by such a hideous creature. Yet here we are, this many thousand years down the line and that vicious beast is busier than he’s ever been.
Making good decisions isn’t always easy. I don’t disagree that there are sometimes various extenuating circumstances that make it very hard to make good decisions. One friend recently told me in a conversation that she is having to choose between truth and peace. I felt great sympathy for her having to choose between doing what she felt was right versus having to deal with the volatility of another family member. This is not uncommon. You would be surprised at the amount of people who choose peace - because they have to survive in their environment. In her situation she decided to go with truth.
One of the greatest managers I have ever worked for always said to me when things didn’t go well on our unit, “I’m going to own this because I’m in charge - not because I like it, but ultimately it comes back to me and we’re gonna figure out how to fix it!” Knowing that she would take the responsibility for our problems and not make excuses, it changed the psychology of how we (her employees) made decisions related to work. We felt guilty if she was berated by anyone higher than her. We knew that she would have to take the brunt of the trouble and we didn’t want that, so it made us think twice about every decision we made. I found it to be an amazing leadership style. It kept us all accountable.
Recently while singing in the choir, I found myself stopped in my tracks by one line in a song we were singing. It is the whole reason I got on the train of thought of decisions. We were singing the old song from the red back hymnal, “He’ll Take Me Through.” That one line says, “I’m keeping my promise to the Lord - I’m going through!” Do you know how many times we’ve sung this song in my lifetime? I don’t know why it struck me right then. But it did. It wasn’t anything profound but it struck a cord. Maybe it’s because I’m up to my neck in frustration as to why people are so comfortable in walking away from serving God and making such horrible and destructive life choices.
Standing up there trying to act like I wasn’t distracted, I was talking with myself. As my dad would say, “Self - you got to decide to follow Christ and you get to decide whether you finish!” I was telling myself in some fashion that I take ownership of that decision and I’m sticking with it. I wasn’t remotely tempted to walk away in any way, it was just basically a recommittal to how I got here to begin with! And no one can “un-decide” for me! When Jude admonished us to “keep yourselves,” he was saying that was a decision we have to make. That’s not a position of arrogance, that’s a display of determination.
Over my adult life, the road is littered with friends who decided to go another route. Sometimes that decision has been hard for me to accept. The excuses and people to blame for those decisions are all over the map. But I’ve decided that no matter who stays or who decides they don’t want to finish this race with Christ, I cannot be deterred. So my sister, hang in there! We’ve got a race to finish. I don’t care if we have to crawl to the finish line - don’t quit! Remember again that you chose this race and only you get to decide if you’re going to finish it. In the end, there is not one soul to have or use as a scapegoat as to why we made the wrong choice concerning Christ. I want to win and I want to finish well! God has made it possible for us to make it. Even when it’s tough, His strength is enough!!
So just know that of the 35,000 decisions you go with today, the choice to keep walking with Jesus will be the best one you make!!