By Eld. Yap Chee Kian
Faced with Choices
We are faced with making many daily decisions. Various internet sources estimate that an adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. In contrast a child makes about 3,000. This number may sound incredulous. But according to Researchers at Cornell University (Wansink and Sobal, 2007) we make more than 200 decisions each day on just food alone.
I was doing the grocery picking up the daily essentials and I was deciding what to buy at the bread section. There is Fairprice, Gardenia, Sunshine and some other exotic types. For Gardenia alone, there is white bread, soft white bread, enriched white bread, high fibre white bread, and whole meal bread. Which should I choose and more importantly, how should I choose?
What has a simple mundane task of choosing a loaf of bread got to do with seeking God’s will? I believe it does. As I reflected on this, I realized that many times, we make decisions without being aware of why we make a decision. We may simply think it does not matter because it is too trivial. But nothing is too trivial for our God who has numbered every hair on our head. By seeking God’s guidance, we will learn to seek His will and listen to His voice when we come to the major ones.
Choices and Consequences
Although many of the decisions we make are mundane and routine, there are others that could be life changing. Here are two examples of life changing decisions that were made. In Gen 13:10-13, Lot chose to uproot his family and move to another country with promises of a better life. However, Gen 13:13 tells us the folly of his decision to live in the plains of Jordan because “the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly”. Later on, we find out the devastating result of this decision: Lot became the father of the Moabites and Ammonites, both born through acts of incest, and these became enemies of Israel.
More than 1000 years later, another man chose to listen to ungodly counsel. In 1 Kings 12, Rehoboam “forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him” (1 Kings 12: 8). From this bad decision on, Israel was split into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms.
Choice is a reflection of how we live our lives
These two passages instruct us that making godly decision is the result of our daily walk with God and comes about from reading, listening and obeying God’s word. An elder once shared how many of God’s children are satisfied with a routine involving maybe a half hour of reading God’s word in the morning and perhaps some minutes in the evening with the rest of the time spent in the world. Which would have a greater impact and influence in our lives – the Word of God or the world? This has left a deep impression in my heart.
Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” Gal 6:7 warns us, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Often, our thoughts, attitudes, and actions are spontaneous. Therefore, it is important to cultivate a constant awareness of God in our daily walk.
Listening and Obeying
Who and what we listen to affects our lives. If we are living close to people whose mind is on the world, we would be affected. Conversely, if our thoughts are always on God’s word and listening to His still small voice, how we live our lives would be different. People around us will notice. Even our small actions such as how we answer another person’s request would be a testimony of God’s working in our lives.
The Chinese word for listen or hear is聽. It is made of an ear耳, a king王, ten eyes十目 (Ten eyes mean “full attention”) and one heart 一心. This translate into “Listen with your ears and your whole heart by treating the speaker as a king whom you pay full attention”. The Hebrew word for listen שָׁמַע šāmaʼ is even more instructive. It means to discern, to hear intelligently, attentively, carefully, to consider, to obey, to understand and to regard. It means listening to God’s word with the intention of obeying it. Look at Deut 6:4 also known as Shema Yisrael. These first two words, translated as “Hear, O Israel”, serve as Jewish prayer for the morning and evening services.
In Psalm 143:8, David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, said, “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee” David knows that he can trust in God and he asks that God will help him to want to listen.
Do you really desire God’s will for your life? Do you trust Him to show you the way? This can come only from an intimate relationship with God. Seek Him daily, every moment, and listen to His voice, and be quick to obey.