We all have or will face hard choices. There are easy choices,such as what to eat or wear, but with hard choices there is much more at stake. They can threaten fragile relationships;they can have long-term consequences; and they can inhibit or enhance our walk with God. They are the choices that face parents whose kids persistently rebel, or a person whose spouse wants out of the marriage, or an extended family member that insists on getting your help even though it brings consequences on you personally and your immediate family.
Jesus had His disciples face some hard choices, which included heartache and hard times, but His disciples found deep inner joy and an inexpressible quality of life, internally and externally, when they made the hard choices. (Mark 10:27-29)
I see three principles that Jesus impressed on His disciples so they could make the hard choices.
1. Face Reality. It is not a sign of strong faith to ignore the unpleasant issues facing us; on the contrary, it is underdeveloped faith, which doubts God’s capability or desire to bring us through the mess, can cause us to avoid facing reality. Facing reality can threaten our personal security because we feel we can’t make it through life unless life is as we want it to be, not as it really is.
Mondays are often the hardest day of my week. I counsel inner city kids who are in a wonderful Christian group home where they are taken care of, educated, and ministered to because their families are unwilling or unable to do so. I help these kids face the reality of their heartache and the losses in their lives, not so they can blame or become victims, but so they can experience God in their total lives, even the parts that they have kept hidden and locked up because they seemed too painful to open up and face.
2. Think Biblically. Jesus doesn’t use pressure to direct us, but people sure do (Mark 10:17-27; Matthew 4:19). We even put pressure on ourselves, and end up making choices that we think will relieve the pressure, instead of choices that are consistent with relevant biblical principles.
3. Remember your friendship with God. Making hard choices can leave us feeling alone and no good when someone becomes distant or angry with us for not making his or her preferred choice. Jesus called His disciples His friends, not students or servants, but friends (John 15:15, 18-19 ). When we make hard choices that may leave the world hating us, it’s wonderful to know that He is our counselor and friend and we really aren’t alone. In fact, we are friends with the One Who matters most.
Thank you for all you do for us. You are a real joy through your friendship. We are able to do what we do at Lighthouse, in large part, because of your help.
– A family has been re-united.
– Our “Be Transformed” groups are experiencing God’s transforming power.
– In our office, a young woman bogged down in an unhealthy relationship has asked Christ to give her His life in her.
– For the “Monday kids” to experience God’s comfort and to grow spiritually, emotionally, and academically.
– For the broken homes we are working with and for trust to grow again in homes that are coming back together.
– For the physical care my mother in Phoenix needs since she can no longer see very well nor care for herself.