Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - What is Important to You

As human beings, we have to make choices. Some are very easy to make while others are so very hard. Some don’t require a lot of thought while others require our undivided attention. We have all had to make them. We go through a set of criteria to help us make these decisions. But, there is one question that is common to all of us. We ask ourselves which is more important to us.

We weigh all of the pros and cons of each choice and add up all of the pluses and minuses. After doing some complex situational calculus, we settle on a choice. The “importance variable” has the most amount of weight in our calculations. No matter how important or how trivial the choices, we use this variable to ultimately make our choice and follow its outcome to the end.

As we go down this path, we sometimes will wonder if we made the right choice. Things may not be working out the way we thought they would. We begin to wonder if we should go back and pursue the other path and hope that the outcome will work out for the best.

What I just described is a generic situation that closely parallels the moments that we all face almost daily. We face one choice after another. When we pass a car accident, we wonder what would have happened if we left work about one minute earlier. If we had, we could have been sitting beside the road calling for law enforcement, tow truck or emergency medical service.

We clutter our minds with the possible scenarios that could have played out if we had done one thing over another. We wonder what would have happened if we picked a particular choice. Sometimes we can drive ourselves crazy with all of these “what-if” situations. 

The real question is why do we even need to consider them. Our lives are already cluttered with the basic choices that we have to make. Why do we want to even look at the “what-if” scenarios? Do they somehow make us feel better or make us feel that we made the right decision?

I used to do the same thing and wonder if this then that all the time. But, I realized that this was a waste of time and not something that is important. My life is more than just a series of one choice after another. It is a life where I have made the most important choice of my entire life. That choice was to accept Christ Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord and follow him in believer’s baptism. 

That one choice remains as the most important event in my life. I made my choice and I have never looked back and wondered about my old sinful life. I live a life that is fulfilled and dedicated to serving God and following the example of His son, Jesus, in all that I do.

In chapter eight of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Jesus gave his followers a choice and they had to make that choice. The thing that makes this different from the choices we make is that Jesus tells us the outcome of that choice. If we choose to hold on to our earthly lives, we will lose our eternal life. Jesus does not try to hide anything from his disciples or from us. He is completely candid. 

If we work to gain the favor of this world, we lose our souls. By staying focused on the choices of this earthly life, we won’t be able to concentrate on those things that are truly important to us. Our lives should be focused and centered on that one important choice and its outcome. We must choose to take up our cross and follow the one way to the Father, Christ Jesus. 

Jesus asks a very important question that we should ask ourselves each and every day, “Is anything more important than your soul?”

If we answer that we don’t know or there is hesitation in responding, then we need to examine our choice and evaluate whether or not we truly made a choice. Think about it in this way. When life gets hard, does your faith wax and wane like the wind? Do you wonder whether or not you made the right choice?

By asking these questions about your choice, you should examine your life and ask God for strength. There is a lot at stake if you reconsider your choice and slide headlong back into your old, sinful life.

Look at what Jesus says about being ashamed of him or his message. He tells us that the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns. 

Do you want to lose your soul by choosing the world and its sinful ways? Or, do you want to accept God’s Plan of Salvation for your life? This is the most important choice of your life. If you choose to accept Jesus and take up your cross, the path of righteousness is hard, but the reward at the end will be more valuable than all the gold and silver in this sinful world. But, if you choose this life and hang on to it, that choice will lead to death and damnation and eternal separation from the Father.

 At this time, you must ask yourself this one question, “What is important to me?” 

I ask you to consider what is in your heart. Listen to that voice that is speaking softly and tenderly. It is calling you to make that choice for either life eternal with the Father or being separated from Him.

If you have already made the choice and taken up your cross, but you are weak from the burden and you are reconsidering that choice, I want you to ask God for help and wisdom to stay the course. 

In my own life, I have had moments of weakness. I have often questioned my faith and my choice. If I told you that I didn’t have those moments, I would be a liar and hypocrite. But, I am here to tell you that you will receive what you need to overcome the world and the problems that you face. You just need to have faith in your choice and continue down that path of righteousness. Each step that you take down that path is affirmation that you made the right choice and you will be standing firm in His grace.  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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