Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Good vs. the Best

Going out to eat or using the same money to give to persecuted believers.

Watching a fun, clean show or obeying God's nudge to pray.

Enjoying a chewing gum habit or giving it up to sponsor a child.

Curling up with a good book or using the time calling a lonely friend.

Giving a child a pricy iPhone or giving her your time and listening ear.

Staying put in one's place or following God's call to become a missionary.

Getting a child in extracurricular activities or taking him on a servant project.

Staying in one's comfort zone or obeying God's call to reach out to a needy person.

Eating three healthy meals a day or skipping meals to give more.

Ignoring a person who hurt you or reaching out to forgive and love him.

In life, whether as Christians or non-Christians, we know that it can be challenging at times to know what is the right thing to do. If you grew up in the 1970's, you may, like I had, been introduced to something called "situation ethics." You know, if it feels good, do it. If it does not ostensibly hurt anyone else, it's okay. Today, it seems that we have turned right vs. wrong on its head. To make matters more complicated, if we seek to follow Jesus into Biblical Christianity (as opposed to the cultural variety), we know that we are not only being commanded to reject the wrong and embrace the right. We are often faced with the challenge to choose what God deems as best vs. what we consider as best.
God's best. Our second-best.

The examples I started out with, among many others, do not involve black and white choices. Few people would criticize us for sticking with the logical choices on the left. You know, choices that benefit us in this life. While all of us Christians, like anyone else, fight temptations to do wrong and are commanded to not yield to temptation, God has a higher standard for our lives than to avoid wrongdoing. Far higher standards. Yes, like you, I struggle with this often! When I read about the life of Christ or about the bold faith of persecuted brothers and sisters in Him, worldwide, I'm convicted as well as encouraged. It all lets me know the very high standards God has for our behavior. God calls on us to not only avoid sin and be nice, decent people who love our families and be good, patriotic citizens. He calls us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow His Son. He calls on us to live lives of total devotion to Him and selfless love for others, all others and no matter how they treat us or who they are. He does not call us to a life of ease, fun, or lack of conflict.

The world says that what is best is what benefits us now.

God says that what is best for us what He does through us for others and He promises future rewards, including His "Well done," plus His pleasure in this life. We often will keep facing tough choices. But He tells us that if we choose His best, it will be worth it!

Please visit The Voice of the Martyrs website to learn about believers all over the world who choose God's best and pay a high price for it. Go here.
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