Sunday, March 18, 2007
Sometimes your choices can ultimately affect the entire world. One such decision, perhaps the most important one that any of us will ever make, is one that I have recently been contemplating.
The choice to accept Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior.
There, I said it. In some ways, it’s not an easy choice to make. Christ Himself said “You will be hated by all because of my name.” But I will put it to you here that it is the only rational choice that you can make, the only choice that makes any sense, and the only choice that will ultimately get you what we all search for – peace, love, happiness.
When there is a choice to be made, it is usually between at least two, and often many different things. There is nothing different about the choice to welcome Jesus Christ into your life. You can choose to do so, or you can choose evil, or you can choose ambivalence, or you can choose to delay your ultimate choice…but choose we all shall.
In my own life, it has taken far too long to come to this point. What will be your choice?
Evil is one choice. It is seductive. It enters our lives in so many forms, especially in today’s society. The abuse of sex, drugs, alcohol, the internet. The deterioration of our moral fabric in our music, motion pictures, television and even the classic arts. Popular culture has become a cesspool of corruption and deceit, and it is often a wonder that anyone is ever able to make a choice against these evils.
The devil is very real, and is very seductive. He comes to us each in the form of our own weaknesses. He can come in the shape of a woman or man dragging us away from our wives and husbands and families. He can come in the shape of a bottle, luring us into brokenness and drunkenness. He can come in the form of a needle, a pill, a weed, a powder up our noses, distorting our vision and hallucinating our mind.
Evil is not the only bad choice. Almost as bad is the choice of ambivalence. We choose to not believe. Well, at least not all of it. We choose to believe there is a god, but not in God. Not a god who has anything to do with our everyday life. Oh, something or someone started all this: earth, sun, moon, stars, fish, animals, trees, men. Something or someone set it in motion, and I can accept perhaps it was a god.
But how can there be a real, personal God that loves me and cares about me everyday? Wars, death, famine, disasters, evil. How could a loving God allow these things to exist? No, I am not about to give in to that thinking. Those folks who do are just kidding themselves, medicating themselves with religion rather than booze or drugs or sex. You won’t catch me making that crazy choice.
But in taking that attitude, you are indeed making a choice. A choice to not care, to not change, to not open your eyes and heart. But there is an even more depressing choice, one that is very dangerous indeed. One that I myself have made these many years. The choice to put off your decision. To put off making your own choice, and making the right choice, is perhaps the most perilous of all.
Any important decision in life that we consciously choose to put off is one that needs to be made and is not getting made. That choice can be something involving a career decision, to accept a certain job or not. It can involve our education, whether to go back to school or what classes to take. It can involve finance, whether to buy a property or stock. It can involve our personal life, whether to get married or have children.
But in not making a choice we take risk. We risk that the job won’t go to someone else. We risk that our financial opportunity will lessen. We risk that the person will take our indecision to commit as a sign to back out of a relationship. We risk that something may happen to us prior to finally making that decision that will render us incapable of making it.
I cannot safely claim that I will never stumble again in any way. I remain human, and thus I remain a sinner. But in choosing Christ, and in choosing to live now by his Word, those of you who care about me should begin to notice a change in my life, in my own words and actions. I will take care not to turn anyone off, but you should know that you are living with a fundamentally different person than you may be used to from the past.
When I was ever asked in the past about my faith life, I had the stock comic reply that I was “a Christian, and the worst kind – a Catholic!” I choose also to remain in the Catholic Church as I expand and explore my faith. However you may choose to explore yours, I pray that you do so in Christ.
I hope that you will choose to continue with me on this journey through life and revelation. I also pray that each of you reading this will make, or have made, the right choice in your own lives, and I will always be available to help you towards that end however you may need and however best I can.
Once when Jesus was preaching in Jericho, a blind man called out to Him saying “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus asked “What do you want me to do for you?” and the blind man replied, “Master, I want to see.”
Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately the man received his sight and followed him on the way.
I asked and have received. I knocked, and it was opened to me. I sought and I have found. I have stumbled and been lifted up.
I was presented with a choice, and have decided to choose correctly and choose to accept the loving gift that Jesus gave me on that cross over two thousand years ago now. That is what I have done. You have only one thing to do yourself – choose.