Points to Ponder: The Cost of Right Choices

Points to Ponder
The Cost of Right Choices

In the newspaper everyday we read stories about people's wrong choices and the resulting consequences. Some lost a job, went to prison or disgraced their name. Others lost access to some future opportunities. Some have lost their lives. The cost of poor judgment and wrong choices is often plain to see.
But making the right choice can be costly as well. Sometimes that's why we don't make the right choice; not just a good choice, but the right one. What keeps us from making right choices?
I won't limit the application by citing examples. It's a common challenge each of us face more than once. In our youth, peers will often pressure us to do something we know is wrong. Caring parents will encourage (or nag) us to do what we know is right. Opportunity knocks and a decision to grab it could bring about serious life-altering changes. Sometimes you've gone along with the peers, ignored the parents, and ran from the opportunity. And sometimes what is right demands sacrifice, and the only profit is knowing that you did it. Jesus says deny yourself and pick up your cross. Your cross is what you choose to do because you belong to Christ. You bear His name so you know your choices must reflect His character.
What holds us up? At least four things.
1. Lack of Information.
You may be unaware of all the possible options or lack the insight to discern the merits and long-term consequences of each. Usually there are about four options: Wrong, okay, good, and best. How do you weigh the options?
"Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge" (Proverb 23:12).
Not as simple as it sounds.
Are you a teachable person? Do you actually want to know the truth about the matter you're facing? Remember: The good for the moment may not be the best for the long run. Don't sacrifice the best for good enough when it comes to doing what's right.
2. WMD
Do you have weapons of mass destruction or Wisdom, Maturity, and Discernment? The former is when you are your own worst enemy (and harmful to others). The latter is a pursuit in itself; a personal training regimen that sharpens perception. Note the contrast:
"There is a way that seems right, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 16:25).
"The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom" (Proverb 15:33).
Attaining wisdom, maturity and discernment comes from a spiritual diet of solid food (the scriptures) and living a lifestyle of exercising the truth you've learned through life application.
"...solid food belongs to those who are of full age (mature), that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).
3. Right Perspective:
If you approach some matter from the wrong angle you will miss the goal; not just the desired outcome but even an understanding of what you think that is.
A woman driving through Pennsylvania to New Jersey stopped at a gas station to ask directions to a certain town. The attendant told her that if she stayed on her current course, it would be 24,995 miles; however, if she turned around there, it would be about five miles. If we're making good time, even if it's in the wrong direction, it can sure feel right. Reason is as reliable as the information at hand and the judgments you've already made about it. ("I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts.")
Sometimes we miss the obvious because we've already decided how it has to be. How are you looking at the matter that is firing you up right now? Should you adjust the angle, the perspective from which you're viewing it?
Then there's a final, undergirding factor to decision-making.
4. Are You Sold Out or Leasing?
To lease is to borrow, to not take possession of something; just using it for a time. That's how some folks deal with God. You know where He is if you need Him; like a fire extinguisher on the wall.
To be sold out, however, is to have given yourself to the Lord. He's not there to serve your life. Your life is here to serve Him.
The confusion, the reluctance, or downright fear we have about doing what's right could be revealing a fundamental commitment you still need to make.
"Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;..." (II Peter 1:10).

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am.