Two Options on the Shelf

I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
 Proverbs 4:11-12 (NIV)

God cares about what is in our hearts, because he is a personal, relational God. We were all made in God’s image, so that we may reflect him in the choices we make. So that we can will to be like Christ. But in any decision we make, we also have the opportunity to choose who we worship. Do we worship God or do we worship ourselves?

In some areas of life it is clear that there are right decisions and wrong decisions. We know this from both reading Scripture, and God’s Word that is written on our hearts. An easy example of something we all know to be wrong is cheating on a game that you’re playing with all your friends, or saying mean things to someone in your class. We all have the choice to either do the wrong thing, which often is what we want to do, or the right thing, which is always the thing that God wants us to do. But other times the choice may be neutral—something that's not necessarily right or wrong. All of these are opportunities to practice wisdom. For example, spending a lot of time talking on the phone or texting friends may be a good thing, it isn't wrong to keep in touch with your friends often. But if it becomes our biggest priority to do the things we want, that we like, it will be harder for us to be aware of God's presence. Being wise might mean unplugging yourself from technology, hobbies, or very time-consuming activities that keep us distracted from being aware of when we have the opportunity to make a godly choice.

Sometimes when we make decisions, it can seem like we're trying to work God into our life story. But really, we are part of God's story and God is delighted by our desire to live with that focus in mind. But first, we must make sure we’re seeking to obey what God has already revealed to us in Scripture. This includes things such as obeying your parents, refraining from lying, and remembering to love others as you love yourself. These are clear instructions from God, but they aren't always easy to follow because sometimes we desire to worship ourselves, rather than God. Mrs. Collins reminds us that we have two options on the shelf: pleasing God or pleasing self. But how do we know what to do to please God?

As we study God's Word and spend time in prayer, our relationship with God will grow and we will begin to understand God's character as we practice wisdom in the decisions we make. What is wisdom? Thinking God’s thoughts. If we truly want to follow God's will, we must recognize that it's not about getting what we want, but doing what God asks of us. We must trust that He is faithful and good, and that His will is what's best for us. God may call us to do things that don't feel good to us at first, but as we listen and respond to the will of God, we will realize that God’s desires are good and satisfying. After all, the things God desires us to do are things that He created us to do. Many of us have habits that we find comfortable or that we enjoy. This habit might be procrastination in homework, or chores, or even just fidgeting in your seat. In the long run, though, those things won't meet our deeper spiritual desires.

This process makes me think of a cross-country runner. Getting to the point where it's enjoyable to run requires the runner to work and do things that may not be easy. But when the runner is in great shape, it is a true joy to run. Likewise, once we start down the path of doing the work God desires us to do, we find great joy in doing it.

Making a poor decision doesn't mean we’re never going to make the right one, or that we cannot be redeemed. The Bible has many stories of people who make bad decisions, but God still uses them mightily. Like King Nebuchadnezzar or the story of Paul, used to be Saul. They both did some things that were clearly wrong, but God worked through them to accomplish great things. God can use all of our decisions, whether they're right, wrong, or neutral. But for us to make wise decisions, good decisions, true decisions, righteously, we must follow the heart of God.

As part of their training in Rhetoric, our students in grades ten and up are required to develop and present a brief presentation to the school body during Chapel with guidance from their instructors and school curriculum. Each student presentation must be understandable and relevant to all age groups. Sowing seeds of rhetoric training by requiring them speak to all age levels has yielded a harvest for all to enjoy.

This presentation was given by Amanda, one of our twelfth grade students (pictured above).