Choices and Choices

John H. Stoll, Ph.D.
Executive Director, ASK, Inc.

As human beings we make many choices everyday, little ones and big ones, some with immediate consequences, others with far reaching ones, some with little effect, some with life long lasting results. Upon what basis do we make these choices, and how does this foundation affect that which we choose? In order to achieve fullness of life one's basis of choices affects the outcome, whether enriching or debilitating and possibly catastrophic. It is important to seriously consider one's worldview, since it has a major impact on the choices one makes.

Given the fact that the Bible is God's "manual of operation" for human beings to live by, with very basic principles for living, it is imperative for us to consider what it says. The Old Testament is an illustration of God's chosen people going astray from His revealing Himself to them, and outlining the way of living that would produce fullness of life and blessing from God.

In Deuteronomy 28:13, God told Israel that He would make them the "head and not the tail", if only they would follow His precepts. He promised national inheritance in Israel and blessing without end (Deut. 30:3-10). In Joshua 24:14-16, he admonished Israel to not forsake the Lord, but they did anyway (Judges 3:5-7). The story of the Old Testament is a litany of continuous failure because Israel forsook the Lord, and went in their own selfish way. The conclusion was captivity and an end of their nation. They chose wrong and paid the price.

Choices have consequences, and choosing one thing means you reject something else. The choices one makes are based upon what one believes, which is one's worldview. A worldview is one's philosophy of life, which becomes the track of life upon which one runs. Therefore, it is important for a person to have a philosophy of life that is based upon right principles and then be able to make right choices that are consonant with the principles believed. How then does one formulate right principles that will profit a person throughout life?

Again, we must revert to the Biblical principles, since they are God's way for mankind to enjoy fullness of life, because we all were created to be a reflection of God Himself. Following God's principles for His creation is His guarantee to us that we can be assured of a good life. Fortunately, we are not left without guidelines, since they are abundant in Scripture.

There are three primary principles found in the Bible, that provide a foundation, upon which one is able to formulate a proper worldview. The first is in Joshua 1:8 where we are admonished to meditate (i.e. to thoughtfully consider well) upon the law of the Lord, and observe His ways, then God says He will make our way "prosperous" and then we will have "good success". Everyone desires to be prosperous and successful. Following God's Word brings prosperity (i.e. not necessarily financial, but fullness of life) and success, so that one will be able to say at the end of life, "I have had a fulfilled life". God desires that for us; see John 10:10.

The second principle is found in Psalms 1:2,3, where we see that the happy person has his "Delight in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates (i.e. thoughtfully considers well) day and night". In other words, God's principles thoroughly permeate that person's thinking and choices. God's response to that person is found in His promise that, "Whatsoever that person does will prosper". Again, prosperity is not necessarily bound up in money, but fullness of life, through all the experiences, good and bad. Even the adversities of life can have beneficial results in maturation, and learning.

The third basic principle is in Romans 8:6, where we read, "To be self centeredly minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace". There are many self centered individuals who have existence, but inwardly are dying every day, because they have chosen to live a selfish life. This is most unproductive in society, and certainly devastating to that one who has chosen to live their life that way. For the person who has chosen to be committed to the Lord Jesus Christ, and allowed the Holy Spirit to control their life, God has promised fullness of life and peace. What more can one ask than that?

The finest thing that one can say of themselves at the end of life is, "I have had a fulfilled life", and the worst thing one can say is, "I wish I had it to do over again". Since we are have only one life to live, is behooves us to follow God's principles, so that we can be guaranteed fullness of life when we arrive at the end.

ASK Newsletter- 2nd Quarter, 1998