“What choice do I have?”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
My guess is that the title made you believe that this article would be about who to vote for in our upcoming election for President of the United States of America. Well, what follows may aid you in making that choice. But my main point is that we, especially those of us who are Christians, make choices continuously. The question is, “How do you choose? How do you decide what is the right course of action?”
Most politicians are proud to say, “I always do what I think is right.” In the ultimate sense, that statement is irrelevant. The relevant question is, “What is the right thing to do?” What anyone thinks is right matters only if one’s thoughts are held captive to obey Christ! 2Corinthians 10:5 The word of God informs each believer of the way to blessing, Deuteronomy 11:26-28.
Christians are not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewal of the mind. The result is: “That by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
Ephesians 5:11 points out that Christians were once in darkness but are now “light in the Lord.” Therefore, believers are to live as children of light, that is, to follow Jesus. Disciples of Jesus Christ are told that the “fruit” of living as children of light is “found in all that is good and right and true.” Knowing what is good, right and true is called discernment. Doing it is wise living.
The Ancient Hebrews knew that “the fear of the LORD was the beginning of wisdom”, Proverbs 9:10a. In order to live wisely it is necessary for the creature to know the Creator. God has revealed what He wants us to know of Him through His word written. Just as the church in the Old Testament knew to apply God’s word for wise living, every believer ought to do likewise.
The application of God’s word is wisdom. Knowing the right action requires knowledge of what God has said.
The Bible reveals attributes of God. He is good, righteous and true. The only way to know God is to know His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Father is the source of wisdom and discernment. Knowing the right choice comes through having a personal and intimate knowledge of His Son, Jesus.
Making right choices, discernment is wise living. Wise living follows the way of blessing. God said the way of blessing was to obey Him. Conversely, He warned that a cursed life would follow the one who disobeyed Him. I have yet to meet someone who wanted to live a cursed life. Yet, by ignorance or avoidance of God’s word, we head towards destruction.
All this being said, the answer to, “What choice do I have?” is to know what is right, good and true. The method for knowing is not easy, but is a blessing. The method is the systematic, intense study of the Bible and the theology which proceeds from it. This is not only a personal endeavor. God has ordained that we grow in discernment and wisdom corporately. I am speaking of the necessity of growing in a church that teaches “sound doctrine”, Titus 2:1.
The Apostle Paul addressed the barrier to growth in discernment and it is recorded in 2Timothy 3. He wrote of the “last days”, those days between Jesus’ first and second coming. Paul said that people would be “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”
Paul was not describing the world in general. He was describing the visible church corrupted by those who only looked godly. He gave a timeless answer to the problem. Paul’s answer then was for Timothy to continue in what he learned and firmly believed. Paul reminded Timothy that all Scripture was breathed out by God and it’s the Scriptures which are able to make the believer “competent and equipped for every good work.” God’s answer remains the same. The visible church is the place for growth in discernment through personal and corporate study of all that is good, right and true. Then you will be able to make the right choice!