Sep 3, 2011

Lines in Sand

There comes a moment in our lives where a line must be drawn.
A point where we say, "I have made my decision and I'm not going back." A time when we choose our side, and raise our battle-flag so our loyalty is unmistakable.

This last week has been one of choosing sides, for me. I knew what God wanted, and I knew what I felt like doing. The decision was not a momentous one, and yet I knew it would affect my destiny quite a bit.
The choice came down to taking the hard, the steep, the world-changing path or settling for normalcy.
I knew which way God preferred. I also knew He had left the decision to me.

You see, God never forces us. He shows us our options. He lays the cost and the benefits out plainly. He tells us His perfect plan--the one that we were made for. But then He steps aside and lets us choose.
Remember Samson? He was a man with a great call. A very unique call. He was called to live like no one else....and yet he craved the life of everyone else. He wanted parties, and women, and luxury. He wanted fame and respect. He lived for the moment. He fulfilled his own cravings, and when it came down to it those cravings got the better of him. They cost him his freedom, his sight, and in the end, his life.

For me the decision I had to make had nothing to do with anything that anyone else saw.  It was all in the realm of thoughts and confessions of the heart. But not only will this decision effect a great deal of my personal life from here on out, it will also effect my ability to make future decisions correctly.  I have begun a pattern of correct choices, which means the next one will be that much easier.

What is the first thing that happens when we make a decision?
It is tested.
That's how it was for me.  I made my choice, I drew the line...but then I had to walk it out.  All week long the other option would ride up in my face, flaunting its so-called benefits, trying to seduce me to back down from the choice I had made. The only way I cam make it through times like that is to fix my eyes on God and not even look another direction.  The pages of my journal are full of prayers and God's responses, my voice is worn from reading the Bible aloud to myself, and my stereo has been playing worship music non-stop for days now.

Sometimes that is the hardest part of all.  Setting new habits of life or new patterns of thought is not easy.  The trick is not making an excuse to do it one more time.  It takes vigilance, carefulness, and a great deal of will. It takes the strength of the Lord. It takes grasping Him by the hand and not letting go.
Remember the story in Genesis of Lot's wife? She was miraculously delivered from a horrible situation, told to run for the mountains and not look back.  But she could not resist one last parting glance of the life she had known. And there she stayed. Looking back forever.  A pillar of salt. A warning for anyone else that would look with longing back to the old lifestyle.

You will reach a crossroad in your life. Actually you will probably face many. The first will be the initial choice to follow Christ.  Then after that, you will have many days where you will need to choose your way or God's. Selfishness or love. Offense or forgiveness.  Purity or compromise.  Sleep or prayer. Indulgence or discipline.  Normalcy or victory. Worldliness or holiness.

Often they will come when you are tired, or frustrated, or weak. Usually they will have a much larger impact on your life than you may realize at the time. When the time comes, make the decision that God wants. Then walk it out, Don't go back, don't look back, don't consider another way, don't make even one excuse, don't leave a back-door option.

Fly your standard high so the world will recognize whose side you are on. Make certain that when the Lord looks down for one whose heart is turned perfectly to Him, He will spot you in an instant and know you for one of His own.


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