We’re often faced with hard choices and decisions. It’s in these times we find out what we’re really made of. And, to some degree, we discover the same of others. The journey was never promised to be easy, but it was promised to be worth it! So if you find yourself at an intersection, what does it take to muster your courage for the long way home? Take the path less traveled. It may feel lonely at first, but if you hold to the deeper truths and walk with integrity, I think you’ll find it’s the only road truely worthwhile.
As a pastor, I have prayed with and counseled numerous people who were wrestling with the question of God’s will. Faced with life changing decisions, we all have a deep desire to know God’s purposes and plans. We pray for God to open and close doors. We ask him to make this easy for us. Yet the Bible tells us, without question, that God is preparing us for eternity. And in so doing, he is far more interested in our holiness rather than our happiness.
This question of holiness – what does it look like? Well, until we see Jesus face to face, we won’t come close. But that doesn’t give us an excuse not to call each other towards it. The ultimate goal of the cross and salvation is to redeem and sanctify. Redemption is the doorway and sanctification is the process. Redemption is the event and sanctification is the progression. Redemption without sanctification would be you putting on a pilot’s uniform and stepping into the cockpit. You might have the suit, but you don’t know jack about flying that plane. The markers of following Jesus are developed over time. And Jesus isn’t too interested in more fans – He desires followers!
The book of James is a no-nonsense guide to living our faith. You might want to bypass James if nominal Christianity is your comfort zone. Yet I believe James is precisely where today’s modern church needs to live. If relativism has poisoned the coffers of the church, James is its nemesis. But know this, you can’t claim Jesus and not have the markers of Jesus! Faith without works is dead. Don’t be hearers of the Word only, but be doers. We love to speak it, hear it, post it, repost it, and share it. But living it is a whole other thing.
So, back to this doing the hard but right thing. Courage will be necessary! But James makes it clear that the choice is not left up to us. James 4:17 says: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Doing the right thing will have these inescapable values:
- Guided by the Word
- Filled with the Spirit
- Empowered by prayer
Know that a full and complete commitment to Christ may leave you lonely. It might even require a choice of integrity, honor, and courage. And never forget, the applause of the crowd is never our target, for they are fickle. But the applause of heaven – that’s a worthy and noble cause!
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