Daily, we are presented with the choice to follow God or man. This might seem to be a fairly easy and straight forward choice to make, but in practice, this is one of the most life-defining and challenging commitments that we can make.
Through many scriptural passages, we are admonished to follow God. Some of these admonishments will be quoted in this article, as well as warnings about the folly of following man’s way.
Very basic and important instructions are given in the Lord’s prayer. (Matthew 6: 9-13) “After this manner, therefore pray ye: Our father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen.” We need to shape our thoughts through these simple, yet profound instructions.
Another term for making proper life choices is the word “DISCERNMENT,” which is developed through much experience and practice as we work toward greater personal and spiritual growth. 1 John 4:1-4 provides us with great help in regards to developing discernment. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti Christ, wherefore ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world.”
If we contemplate and understand the bed-rock importance of this selection, we are on our way to sorting out what is good and truthful, and what is evil and unhelpful. We are bombarded on a daily basis with half-truths and total untruths which can have the effect of developing doubts about the simple and precious instructions that are provided to us in love by the Lord. Further clarification toward making prudent choices is contained in 1 Corinthians 2:4-10: “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not in the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they know it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them who love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, ye, the deep things of God.”
Conversely, we are warned against putting our trust in man, but then are given expedient and positive instructions for overcoming that misplaced trust. (Jeremiah 17: 5-10) “Thus saith the Lord, cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and who’s heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.”
The question and choice which every one of us is presented with is, are we going to be partakers of all of the good and useful things given to us freely by the Lord, or are we going to follow man through a journey of selecting temporarily attractive, but eventually shallow and unsatisfying choices? We are given the opportunity by the Lord to chart our own course.
I hope that we all make the choice that leads us to our spiritual salvation. Our lives depend upon it!