DECISION MAKING – PART 2 OF 3
In case you missed yesterday’s post, here is the summary, followed by Part 2 of this 3-part blog series:
SUMMARY FROM PART ONE
Here is the final paragraph from yesterday’s post:
In our decision-making, it is imperative to remember the wisdom found in the Scriptures. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” This reminds us that we should always seek God’s guidance, even in the smallest decisions. James 4:13-15 is another great scripture: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'” This emphasizes our need to align our will with God’s, acknowledging that His plans supersede our own. Lastly, in 1 Corinthians 10:31, we’re reminded, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” This calls us to an attitude of stewardship and gratitude, reminding us to consider God’s glory in all we do. In conclusion, let’s habitually, and in all humility, seek God’s direction, remembering that our freedom in Christ is not an excuse for self-centeredness, but an opportunity to bring glory to Him in every decision we make.
At any given moment in time, I am either self-will-driven, or Christ’s-will-driven. It is a daily, moment-by-moment struggle for all of us. Some of us know that, and some are in denial that they are in this daily battle. What I notice is this: Those Christ-followers that I admire most are the ones that are the quickest to recognize, admit, and repent of their sins. Those of us who are blessed to be ministry leaders need to be like this, not only for the cleansing of our own souls, but to role model behavior for others.
TAKING THE FIRST STEP TO “CHRIST’S WILL DRIVEN”
The first step to be Christ’s-Will-Driven, is to come out of denial if you think you are always driving Christ’s agenda and not your own. Next, take a hard look at where you allow satan (lower-case “s” on purpose) and his demons to attack you. The areas of our mutual enemy’s attacks are either physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. And of course, it is all connected. An attack on one of these four dimensions is an attack on all of you, the whole person. And, it is also an attack on those you love. What is the answer? For me, it comes down to surrender. I must fully and complexly surrender to Christ, every moment of ever hour, of every day. And all the “moments” that I am not surrendered, I confess as sin.
I know Christ wants me to be fully surrendered to him. So it stands to reason that anything less than that is a sin against God, and my fellows.
OVERLY-LIBERAL DEFINITION OF SIN
Some reading this may say that this idea of mine is an overly liberal definition of sin. You may think that I am calling things sin that are not really sin. Allow me to ask you this question: “Is it better to freely classify my self-will as sin, or is it better to be more conservative with what we call sin?
For me, I don’t want to miss an opportunity to identify and confess sin to Christ. I know too many people that if you listen to them, they think they rarely sin, and in my opinion “may” be walking around with a tremendous amount of unconfessed sin. Then, these people complain to me that they can’t hear the quiet whisper of God talking to them.
Friends, it is very hard to hear clearly what God is trying to say to us, if we are in denial of our sins, and have unconfessed sins on our heart. I much rather error on the side of confessing something that may not quite be a sin, rather than not confess it, and go around with an unconfessed sin on my soul.
FREEDOM FROM JUDGEMENT
God alone is our judge.
We can’t judge what is or is not sin for someone else. We have to keep the focus on us, and our own actions. Ask: “Is what I am doing sinful or not?” If I am running the show, or trying to, is that sinful behavior? If I am controlling or trying to control the life God has given me to surrender to him, is that a sin? I think so.
We are told clearly in scripture not to judge each other. So I can not determine for you, or you for me, what is, or is not, sinful behavior. In Part One (yesterday), I wrote about HABITUAL DECISION-MAKING. All of my sins that I observe can be lumped into three main categories:
1. Habitual: I do these things out of ingrained habits, to a greater or lesser degree.
2. Self-will-driven: I engaged in sinful behavior when I try to “run” my own life.
3. Freedom-abusing: I take advantage of the freedom I have with Christ, and His grace, and take liberties that ought not be taken.
All three of these things tie together.
Those not in denial of their sinfulness echo the Apostle Paul’s sentiments: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15 NIV) We are often given these words of wisdom: “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.” So, my commitment is this: I will hate the sin in you and me, but I will love you and me, and not conflate the two.
HATE THE SIN; LOVE THE SINNER
We have clear instructions on this principle from Scriptures:
1. We are all sinners: “ … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24 NIV)
2. God loves all despite their sins: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)
3. We are called to love others unconditionally, as God loves us: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
In adhering to these principles, we find a path forward. It is not our place to judge or condemn, but rather to extend the same grace and love that God has shown us. We are to embrace the individual, recognizing the inherent worth of each person as a creation of God, while at the same time acknowledging the reality of sin and its destructive impact. This does not mean condoning wrongful actions, but rather encouraging transformation and growth in the light of God’s love. “Hate the sin; love the sinner” is a principle of compassionate discernment, recognizing the universality of human frailty and the divine imprint of the Holy Spirit within all Christ-followers.
This brings me to last point: FREEDOM-ABUSING. I will write on that tomorrow.
Running our own lives may seem like a perfectly fine way to live, until a fuller understanding of Christ’s Great Commission and Great Commandments is attained. The more time I spend in God’s Holy Word, the more clearly I see this.
As we delve deep into God’s Word, it hits us just how sinful we really are and how much we need to be saved from our sinful state. For Christ-followers like me and you, the good news is this:
1. Christ paid for our all our sins, past, present, and future.
2. Confessing sin is good and necessary to live a Spirit-led life; it is better to call something a sin, even when we are not sure if it is.
3. Being cleansed of sins through repentance leads us to a more intimate relationship with Christ.
Until tomorrow, friends.
Your aspiring servant,
18 July 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent conversation with God blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily Conversations with Christ.