Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Choices Have Consequences
The choices we make can have far-reaching consequences. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, has laid out for us a way of life, and now, at the conclusion of the Sermon, He reminds us of how important our life choices can be.
In verses 13 and 14 of Matthew chapter 7 Jesus had described two paths, one that is wide and broad, the other narrow and difficult. Now He picks up the theme once again, and compares the two paths to two different ways to build a house. One person builds his house on a rock. ". . . and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house . . ." (v. 25; NKJV), but the house stood, "for it was founded on the rock." This represents the person who heeded Jesus' message and build his life on sound moral and ethical principles.
On the other hand there is the person who is said to have built his house upon the sand. Subjected to the same weather conditions as the first, this house collapsed: "And great was its fall" (v. 27). This is the person who ignores Christ's teachings and tries to structure his life on some other basis.
People basically either live for God or they live for themselves, and the vast majority are living for themselves, pursuing their own self-interest. They claim to believe in God, but ignore Him when it comes to everyday decision making. Or, they might be outright atheists who have consciously decided that there is no God, and consciously and deliberately pursue their own self-interest.
The self-conscious secularist (atheist / agnostic / humanist) has staked his entire life on a single debatable proposition, that evolution as a completely naturalistic process can account for the appearance of design in nature, and that therefore there is no evidence in nature that God exists. But the assumption is doubtful. The end product of the supposed process of evolution is far to complex and structured to the be result of pure accident, even granted the mechanism of natural selection. The secularist has essentially constructed for himself a false worldview, one that distorts reality and ignores the long term consequences of our decisions in life. But he cannot run away from the truth forever, and eventually reality will catch up with him.
The person who is truly wise, however, will ground his hopes in God, Who holds our lives in His hands. God controls what happens to us in this life through His providence, and it is God Who determines our final destiny. Granted, we still live in a world filled with tension and conflict. We struggle to control our own impulses and desires. Yet even in this trouble-filled life it is possible to achieve peace and happiness as we strive to fulfill God's will for us, and the final reward is eternal. As John Newton, the hymn writer, famously put it, "Through many dangers, toils and snares / I have already come, / 'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, / And grace will lead me home."