If you had to choose one, would you rather prefer ‘time at the beach’ or ‘a trek up the mountains’? Do you like ‘hot weather’ or ‘cold’? Would you rather read a book first or watch its movie first? These questions force us to think of the choices we have and upon reflecting we realize how different we are from one another in our thoughts and emotions.
For Sylvia & me, we are quite the opposites, I prefer cold weather, she loves the sun, I can spend hours reading, she would rather watch a movie, I love the mountains she prefers the beach (I too enjoy beaches actually). But you get the point, in life we are always faced with choices and need to make decisions.
According to several sources I have read on the internet, in a day we make about 35000 decisions. Whoa!!! That seems too much to do in one day, doesn’t it? Then how necessary would it be for the decision maker to be well-informed about his or her choices? Obviously it is of utmost importance and that’s what this post is all about.
Actually this post is more or less a continuation of an old one titled “Renewing of Mind”. In that post I mentioned about my struggle with right and wrong, being sinful and being away from sin and then how God’s word opened up to me in my life and I stopped fighting the battle that Christ won for me. I was opened up into a whole new world of understanding God’s “Amazing” grace and really for the first time I knew why it’s called “Amazing”.
Today I’d like to highlight a scripture that I’d quoted previously to bringing clarity and understanding to the argument on making decisions. That verse is [ Romans 12:1-2 – ESV] which says:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
This scripture is key to experiencing eternal life now on earth before the Lord’s second coming. It is the key to the kingdom of God that came on earth with Jesus. You need this key to spend your time in this kingdom and taste heaven on earth. You can get a good glimpse, and not just glimpse but an ‘experience’ of the kingdom of heaven right now.
Before I get into this verse however I would like to take an example. Please take a look at this picture (I’m sorry if electronics / electrical isn’t your cup of tea, but the logic behind it is really simple). Now because I had some basic education in electronics, this example appealed to me a lot, so here goes.
Figure (A) is a diagram of a relay switch which has a terminal (the moving rod in the middle) connected to the power supply (6V), there are two other fixed terminals (upper and lower rod) each connected to a bulb. At any time the terminal connected to the power supply will connect to either the upper or the lower terminal and light up its bulb. So far I hope that was easy.
There is however a mechanism which you see in figure (B) which controls which bulb will glow. The spring ensures the upper terminal is normally in contact and keeps the upper bulb glowing normally. However if needed, an electric current passes through the lower device and magnetizes the piece of metal below the spring, thereby stretching the spring so that the lower terminal is in contact with the power connected terminal, this makes the lower bulb glow instead of the upper bulb.
I hope that wasn’t too difficult to understand, but my point was that at any occasion either the upper bulb would glow or the lower bulb, the whole thing could be controlled by a switch and you could choose which one should glow, by switching on or off. Isn’t this too, a kind of decision-making process? Which bulb do I want glowing? If the lower, then I need flip the switch on so that it glows.
This is similar to what we see in daily life, where we make more than 35000 decisions. Our mind is that faculty where the decisions are taken, so obviously we need to train our mind to make good decisions. Now let us examine that key God gave to us carefully.
>>> I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God
Paul is almost pleading through the mercy of God in order to make his case so that we don’t ignore this essential bit
>>> To present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Didn’t the sacrifice system end. Not just that, we are told to be a living sacrifice. How can a sacrifice be living? And to add further, this is what spiritual worship is all about.
Each time I have to make a decision I have 2 places to find my answer. We are made up of Spirit, Soul and Body. My spirit (after I am born (again) of the spirit) is filled with the Holy Spirit, My soul is my personality, intellect, emotions etc. My body is my flesh (and senses) which is visible to me. My mind operates in the soulish realm, my body in the physical realm and my spirit in the spiritual realm. My decision-making happens in the soulish realm and it can choose information from the physical realm or the spiritual realm simply by turning to the flesh or the spirit. Look at figure (C) below:
Here you see that the mind will choose what information attracts it the most and will make decisions according to that. So if you truly believe that God has all the answers to your problem, what you are essentially saying is that your spirit (in which God resides) has the answers and all the information you need, you may choose to disbelieve what I just said and instead choose to go by the information brought to your mind by the flesh, it’s up to you. So you can either choose the spirit or the flesh for your action/decision.
What does choosing the spirit mean? It means denying your flesh, denying your senses (or walking by faith not by sight). This is truly what a living sacrifice looks like. This does not mean you don’t have fun, you don’t go to the beach, you don’t see a movie. On the contrary the spirit guides you to use your personality in the best possible way so that you truly experience an abundant life. Choosing the flesh would mean you would rather trust what you see, hear, feel, taste and smell and make your decision.
Now I agree it does not come to us naturally to walk in the spirit, however if we can train our mind then we can learn to do it. This is exactly where the rest of the scripture I quoted fits in.
>> Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect
Don’t be conformed to what the world is doing, they are not depending on God’s Spirit to make their choices, they are more sensitive to their flesh than their spirit. But we can make a great choice by choosing the Spirit who resides in us and this helps our mind to be trained, it gets renewed. The more we absorb the spirit of God’s word, the more our mind gets renewed. The more our mind gets renewed, the more we are able to make better choices and decision. Is there anyone out there who perfectly chooses the spirit 100% of the time. I think not, but this is what our life’s journey can be, if we practice it, we will eventually get better and better at being sensitive to the quiet voice of the Spirit in us and following it. This is why dwelling on God’s word is so important because when our mind is exposed to the word it get’s renewed. When we make such choices (through the guidance of the spirit) we are in a position to test the will of God for us in our lives. Too many times in the past I have uttered these words “I do not know what God’s will for me in this matter is”. But now I know how to find out, so that I am not ignorant of God’s will. God wants us to find out what His will for us is. This we can do only if we meditate on His word and choose His Spirit over our flesh and experience His good and acceptable and perfect will.