Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We are tomorrow what we choose today

At the end of our lives we are exactly the sum total of all the decisions we have made.

This is the thought that I woke up to this morning. Random, even for me.  Usually it is something more along the lines of "why did God have to invent early morning?" or "why couldn't the electricity have gone off last night so that my alarm clock would have reset?".  Needless to say, I am not usually a morning person.  But, this morning I awoke exploring the depth, width, and accuracy of this thought, that I can only assume was a divinely inspired alarm clock.   While mornings and I are not bff's, I do love waking to thoughts worth exploring. 

I must admit that while at first this thought feels a little empowering, like I have some sort of control over or ability to guide who I am becoming or end up being, after a little exploring it felt much more sobering.  I know my history of decision making, and how much energy I have expended exploring the life shaping results of those decisions.  Somehow, the importance of doing so seems to escape most young men.  Somehow, consequences seem so dimly lit in the moment of promised joy.   Somehow, the obvious seems to hide so well.  In the light of my abilities, this thought now feels condemning.

But! In the light of the Cross! There is Hope!
In my relationship with Christ, I have on numerous occasions wondered if Jesus was running some sort of hidden camera show.  There have been times when I was certain of what He wanted of me, and almost just as certain that if I were to follow through with it there would be someone jump out screaming "YOU'VE BEEN HOLY SPIRIT PUNKED!"  There have been times when His beckoning made perfect sense, and there have been times when His beckoning defied all common sense.  This is a feeling that I am sure people like Noah, Moses, Ezekiel, Gideon, Joshua, and The Disciples would all identify with.  

Often, the decision God places in front of me makes perfect sense and is easy to follow.  Often it is a stretch of my faith and is very difficult to follow through with.  Sometimes, it makes no sense at all and is almost impossible to act on.  Truthfully, how safe and predictable the outcome of the decision determines the difficulty.  I know, both logically and from experience, that carrying out God's callings is the best path for my life.  But, when examined individually, some of those callings are scary to say the least. 

In those times we would be better off to stop thinking and ask ourselves 3 questions:
  1. Is God Trustworthy?
  2. Does God truly love me?
  3. Is this hurdle worth abandoning the entire race? 
When viewed as an isolated decision I think it is easy to get distracted by the difficulty of a single calling, the uncertainty of  possible outcomes, or even almost assured negative outcomes.  But we must remember that in the end we are the some total of all the decisions we have made. 

While God does not often reveal the outcome of specific decisions, He has clued us into what the sum total of a life decided to follow His leading will be.  We know He has promised to work all things out to the good of those that love Him.  We know He is sanctifying us.  We know that along the way and in the end we will become more and more like Christ.  We know it will have had eternal impact on others.  Most of all we know that it will have fulfilled its ultimate purpose of glorifying God. 

At the end of our lives we are exactly the sum total of all the decisions we have made, and in Christ that is a beautiful thought.  

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us - Hebrews 12:1