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Living With Your Choices

Galatians 6:1-8 (KJV)
1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)
7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.  8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

The Right to Choose

The Apostle Paul places this warning in strong language, designed to make sure the point gets across without mistake.  It would be the height of foolishness to think that you are a match for the wits of God.  You cannot trifle with God. 

Whatever you sow, you will also reap.  If you sow to the flesh, you will of the reap corruption.  If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap everlasting life. 

There is a caveat to the decisions of life and the choices you make.  Every choice has a consequence and every consequence is preceded by a choice.  This society has made a huge deal out of the idea of “pro-choice,” as though there were nothing else to consider except the sacred act of making your own choices.  If you have to defy tradition, go ahead and choose.  If people call you rebellious, go ahead and choose.  If you make people angry, hurt, disappointed or sad, you can’t help it.  Go ahead and make your choice.  

It comes down to this, you can choose your choice, but you cannot choose your consequences.  When you make your choice, you—of necessity—choose the consequences that go along with the choice.  

You cannot plant one kind of crop and expect to reap another kind of crop.  If you plant corn, you will reap corn.  If you plant potatoes, you will reap potatoes.  Furthermore, if you plant a low grade of corn, you will not reap a high grade of corn.  Well, you say, I would have planted a high grade, but the seed was too expensive.  I’m sorry.  The consequences of the choice are part and parcel of the choice. 

You may think that these points are too elementary to enumerate.  Yet, people make these strange assumptions all the time in the way they live their lives.  Look for a moment at the parable of the prodigal son. 

The Prodigal Son 

  Luke 15:11-14 (KJV)
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.  14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

Translation:  If you take all the money you have and you blow it all on stupid stuff, you are going to be in a lot of trouble.  (It is interesting that the Greek word translated as riotous living is asotia, or asozo.  Sozo means saved.  Asozo means unsaved.  Many of us have a savings account.  The prodigal son put all his money in an unsavings account!) 

People think they can live the life of an addict, an alcoholic, a prostitute, a criminal, an adulterer or adulteress, a fornicator, a liar or any other kind of transgression and it should make no difference in the outcome.  In fact, they often say, “Don’t judge me for doing something you don’t agree with.  You don’t have the right to tell me what to do!” 

The fact is that nobody has to tell you what the consequences are for your behavior.  When you choose to do certain things, you have already chosen the consequences. 

Isaiah 5:11-14 (KJV)
11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! 12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands. 13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst. 14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

You are accountable for your choices.  

To further complicate things, many people hold on to their right to choose, but they still want to blame others for forcing them into their choices.  

I have all the sympathy in the world for those who have come out of horrific childhoods. 

I feel sorry for those who are the product of abusive situations. 

But regardless of the reasons why people make the choices they do, each of us must still bear the penalties for wrong choices. 

This is where God can make the greatest difference in the lives of people who need to be saved and changed.  God can give you the ability to forgive.  God can fill in the blanks of your childhood.  

You can’t spell h-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s if you don’t have all the letters.  God is able to supply the missing letters, the missing relationships, and the missing ingredients of your life. 

 God can take your dysfunctional past and create something beautiful out of it.

He can do it if you repent and surrender to His will.

He cannot do it if you continue to blame others for all your problems and continue to make wrong choices. 

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (KJV)
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (KJV)
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 

If you want to make your own choices, and you want the right consequences for your choices, be sure to make the right choices.  Paul was sure that the Galatians would make the right choices. 

Galatians 6:9-10 (KJV)
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

The Consequences of Right Choices 

Now, I want to take this message of choices in a different direction.  The eternal consequences of right choices are positive and glorious.  We are going to live in the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.  Gates of pearl, streets of gold, walls of jasper, worshipping Jesus for all of eternity—all of this is in our future. 

1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But, there are consequences on earth to the choices we make to serve Jesus.

 1 Peter 4:12-14 (KJV)
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

The Apostle Paul made the choice to live his life for the Lord Jesus Christ.  This choice was not without consequences.

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (KJV)
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;
10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

These were the consequences of the choices he made.

Yet, he was not complaining.  He was not bitter against God for making his suffer for doing the right things.  Here is what an old preacher said in his sermon: 

These wounds of the soldier are also his medals. Old soldiers used to pin their medals on their suit coats on Memorial Day and on the Fourth of July. The wounds of Christ are His medals, and He wears them proudly, as old soldiers used to do. Every soldier will tell you the wounds he received in battle were not considered a disgrace or disfigurement. Those wounds are the soldier’s honor. I remember an old soldier from World War I who would often show us boys the scars where shrapnel went into his arms and legs. He was proud of those scars that he received while fighting for America. Old soldiers will tell you that the wounds they received while fighting in the valiant cause of America are honorable wounds. 


Galatians 6:14-18 (KJV)
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

“I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

When people ask you why you look different from the world, tell them that you bear in your body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When people ask you about your dress, your hair, your speech, your habits, the places you go (and the places you refuse to go), tell them you bear in your body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I do not resent the marks.  I only want to be worthy of the marks.  I do not resent holiness; I only hope I can be worthy of the earmarks of living the life for Christ. 

These “marks” (stigmata) meant signs of ownership such as were branded on slaves and cattle. Paul referred to the scars on his body, which were caused by persecution for Christ’s sake because they demonstrated he was a slave of Christ and not just a people-pleaser. 

Thomas Saw the Marks

 John 20:24-28 (KJV)
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
(Song “Thou Art Worthy”)

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