“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” -J. K. Rowling
The memory is still quite vivid – seems like it was yesterday… Tim opened our Love Defined retreat by quoting Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-10 – “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”
I’ve learned over the years to pay attention to those words that follow a “so that” in Scripture. In this case, the purpose of our “love abounding” includes the ability to discern what is best when we face choices. In other words, learning to love results in making better decisions.
Decisions, decisions… our lives are full of so many choices. Are our choices really that important? Can we be sure that we’re making the right ones? Does the Lord really want us to grow in love so that we would choose more wisely? If this is indeed the case, then how do we actually make good choices?
A quick survey of Scripture reveals that our decisions have significant short and long term ramifications. In the Old Testament we find Joshua near the end of his life reminding the Israelites of God’s faithfulness and calling them to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” He reminded them of their options: “whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.” And then he made the right decision very clear: “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
The context of this passage makes it clear that Joshua and his people had been loved well by the Lord. He served as a witness to the exceedingly great kindness and generous provision that had come from His hand for the whole community. This tangible love of God compelled him to make a choice that was good and right – in fact, the best.
In the New Testament, Jesus brings the importance of choices even closer to home for most of us. Modern life revolves around money. Westerners are the wealthiest humans that have ever existed. Yet in general, we want more; we hoard our money rather than giving it away; and, we trust in the almighty dollar more than the Almighty God. The love of money has indeed become the root of all kinds of evil, i.e., bad choices (I Timothy 6:10).
Christ loves us enough to make the truth brutally clear: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13). The object of our love and affection has such sway over who we are, how we make decisions, and what we make of our lives.
Plato tells us that “a good decision is based upon knowledge and not on numbers.” Paul’s prayer in Philippians takes it a step further – it is the knowledge of love that results in good decisions. I urge you to consider today how you have been loved by God. Then, take an
inventory of how you are stewarding the resources and relationships in your life. In both of these references from the Bible, who/what we choose to serve reveals what who/what we love. May the Lord grant you peace and security in your soul to choose Him, choose love, and live a life that abounds in His love.