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Points to Ponder: Options or Standards?

Points to Ponder
Options or Standards?
By Pastor Whitmore
Weekly Contributing Writer

Whatever you deem optional becomes optional. Are you sure you want that?
The blessing of freedom is also a curse: we have many options. We can choose careers, a place to live, where to shop, and on what to spend our money. Even more than these, we can choose how to spend our time. Often we will become busy at so many things that we will complain that we don't have time for certain other things. Practically everyday there will be competing interests. Sometimes they are time-sensitive chores or activities that are all scheduled on the same day. How do we choose what to do and, in turn, what to sacrifice in order to do it?
As the days and the weeks go by, you tend to not notice certain patterns are taking form in your thinking. Options become values that are set and elevated to "executive status." In other words, certain things obtain a level of authority in your life. Without thinking it over - or without thinking at all - these higher order interests rule your life. At one time they were just activities you did, organizations you joined, or just something to do. But over a length of time, as these stood among a list of options, they stopped being (for you at least) optional. "Well, I have to do that."
Other core values you claim to have are, without forethought, set aside when this executive status item claims your time. And if anyone should remind you of those core values and suggest that your executive status option is contradicting them, you'll get defensive. Why? Because you believe you can have both. But are you sure?
As you ponder the things that come into your mind as you're reading this, set it all out in front of you. Ask yourself: "What is really important to me? What are my core values?" These are non-negotiables of what you believe about God, your life, and the purpose to which you are called and for which you live.
Sounds a bit deep, huh? Yes - exactly. Great self-deceptions occur when we don't take time to think on the deeper things. We will tend to sacrifice what's important for what seems urgent. Without realizing it, we have allowed optional things to trump our values and thereby have demoted our values to mere options.
To paraphrase the Book of James, you will know what you believe by watching what you do, how you live. Your life, in the end, is the sum total of all the choices you have made.
Of the Ten Commandments, which was the first one specifically emphasized by God to the Israelites before they arrived at Sinai?
"See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." (Exodus 16:29)
On the journey, God taught them time management. Even before He spoke the commandments about having no other gods and not making idols, God started with an exercise in self-discipline. You will stop doing these lesser things, no matter how essential they seem to you; as if to say, "If you put me first and trust me, I will help you handle the rest." But they had to choose to realign their daily options, to sacrifice what seemed important at that time. Give up following yourself, and follow Me.
Moses wrote in a prayer:
"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)
We seldom recognize that we are sacrificing things we claim to value because the lesser things are more immediate in their goodness.
If you wanted to build an addition to your home, would you pull the blocks out of the foundation to do it? Life is built on choices, one decision at a time; on what is an option and on what is not.

Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring. Listen to Rev. Whitmore on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs at 10:45 a.m. & p.m. & Wed at 10:45 a.m.

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